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Blind NHS patients to receive bionic eyes

Five patients will receive the bionic eye, which is a retinal implant, at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the other five patients will receive it at Moorsfield Eye Hospital. The procedure will take place some time in 2017. The patients will then be monitored for a year.

The patients all suffer from an inherited disease that causes blindness. The disease is Retinitis Pigmentosa. Each operation will cost the NHS around $104,000. Before the NHS decides to pay for other patients’ procedures, they will analyze the results of each operation.

Keith Hayman received a bionic eye during a trial at a hospital in Manchester. This was back in 2009 and the 68-year-old was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa when he was in his 20s. He said he can now tell when his grandchildren run towards him and he can make out lights flickering on Christmas trees.

Dr. Jonathan Fielden, the director of specialized commissioning at NHS England, said that the procedure shows real promise. He added that this could change lives.

The way it works is the patient wears glasses that has a miniature camera attached to it. The eye receives visual information and then the images are converted into electrical pulses. The images are transmitted to electrodes attached to the retina, and the brain receives information after the retina’s remaining cells are stimulated.

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