Bionic Eyes

Bionic eyes are emerging! The latest trials of retinal sensor implants have yielded better

Sub-retinal implant - courtesy of the Royal Society

results than before – and patient reports of adaptation remind me of descriptions from patients who have to adjust to the new sounds from cochlear implants that restore hearing – hearing, but not as they knew it before. In both cases, you still need a working cranial nerve which is why this technology won’t work for everyone. Of course the current costs are prohibitive, but this is a hugely exciting step forward as the greatest cause of blindness in the over 65s in the West is macular degeneration for which this technology could work. Such would be the demand it would bankrupt the NHS, so I expect the actuaries for the health insurers will be watching carefully!

 

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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