Researchers at Bionic Vision Australia have been the first in the world to implant an early prototype of bionic eye technology. The patient, Dianne Ashworth, can see flashes of light and she sees different shaped lights with each different stimulation. The retinal implant is located behind her retina and consists of 24 electrodes. A lead wire connects the electrodes to a connector behind the ear. An external unit is connected to this unit behind Dianne’s ear and this allows researchers to stimulate the implant in a controlled manner and measure her responses. Feedback from Dianne allows the researchers to develop a vision processor so images can be built using flashes of light.
This groundbreaking surgery was made possible by multi-disciplinary teams working together, including Bionic Vision Australia, Bionics Institute, Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital and funding from the Australian Government.
This is an early prototype – the patient can see different shaped flashes of light depending on the stimulation she receives, but this is grounds for a promising future. This prototype has no external camera, but a camera is planned for the next stage of development.
Nicky Carr is our full time optometrist and is also our practice owner.