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Biotech Science

Bionic Eye Telescope To Treat Macular Degeneration 55

Al writes "A miniature telescope that fits inside the eye of someone with macular degeneration and helps them regain normal vision has been developed by a start-up company called VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies. Macular degeneration affects the center of the retina, making it difficult to read, watch television and recognize faces. The new device, which is about the size of a pencil eraser, works like a fixed telephoto lens within the eye, projecting a magnified image of whatever the wearer is looking at onto a large part of the peripheral retina. Magnifying the image on the eye allows the retinal cells outside the macula to participate, and enables a patient to recognize details using their peripheral vision. Clinical trials suggest that the device could improve vision by about three and a half lines on an eye chart. Last week, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended that the agency approve the implant."
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Bionic Eye Telescope To Treat Macular Degeneration

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  • Being the selfish bastard that I am, this is good news, although I hope my MD never gets that far. I just wonder about the cost and the risks of what is highly invasive eye surgery.
  • One of these days we'll actually be able to make a true bionic man, a la Steve Austin. With prosthetic arms that you can control with your brain, using yeast to get energy from your blood, and ocular implants, we're just about all there. It just came in over budget and behind schedule. (Not that I'm surprised.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      yeast to get energy from your blood? you mean the implants will be powered by BEER?!???

      sweet. that gives a whole new meaning to the term "beer-goggles".

      • Hopefully THAT yeast is not infectious...

        But, imagine if the lenses empower the Geriatrics to become new Spy Kids on the blocks... Would Jerry want them? Would Uncle Sam or Uncle Same want them? Would the discrimination against seniors driving lose focus or become unclear a case?

  • Having had close family members suffer from loss of vision, this is great news.

    Whilst all illness is distressing, loss of or diminished vision is very tough to bear or watch.

    I'm glad that 'science', which is so decried these days, is also being seen (sorry) to deliver.

    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      Whilst all illness is distressing, loss of or diminished vision is very tough to bear or watch.

      In Soviet Slashdot, bad jokes write themselves!

  • The downside is the technology costs 6M USD/man. Yes gentlemen, we have the which one of you is willing to co-sign this loan with me?
  • Forget 20-20 vision, now you can have 160 x 120.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bFusion ( 1433853 )

      I'd hold off: I'm sure we'll have an HD version out in a year or two.

    • Which raises a question that has bothered me for some time now:
      What (approximately) is the resolution of the eye?
      • by Zerth ( 26112 )

        Approximately .6 to .7 arcminute per linepair in lighting of at least .1 Lambert.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Even with monochrome, that would be enough to read text, recognize faces, walk down a pavement, take public transport, read timetables and do shopping without any of these requiring assistance.

  • Magnifying the image on the eye allows the retinal cells outside the macula enables a patient to recognize details using their peripheral vision.

  • what are the bad side effects??? dependency? further degeneration due to dependence on the device? on the other hand i think if it was permanent it would be great. especially if like me one of your eyes are bad and is losing vision. i want to learn more about this device.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      It doesn't halt the degeneration, it allows individuals implanted with the device to make better use of areas of the retina that have not been affected.

      If you have macular degeneration, it might help you; if you have some other problem, it isn't particularly likely to help you.

  • When I get my bionic eye implants, I don't want them in the usual old boring and inflexible location, I want them on stalks jutting out of my head. Maybe a spare one in back, too....

  • There's a few upgrades my body needs before a bionic telescoping eye. They are
    1. USB port
    2. Carbon fiber legs
    3. Touch screen interface
  • . . . if you can't shoot lasers out of it.

    But seriously, I emailed the article to my parents; my father's vision is going because of MD.

  • Wow, until this moment, I've never given any serious thought to getting my dear old grandma some bionic eyes! At 93, she's still there mentally, but the Macular Degeneration has made her all but completely blind.

    What a trip, getting my grandma a bionic eye is now actually on the menu. Cool, the six million dollar grandma!

    How much are they thinking the device and the surgery is going to cost?

    That would make for quite strange family gossip: Did you hear that Grandma T got a bionic eye implanted the other day?

  • Is seems that using a larger surface area of the retina for seeing details in the center of the field of vision leaves less for peripheral vision. In other words, people with an implant like this would become better at reading but worse at driving. Great, just what we need!

  • I thought this was going to be about the new MacBooks not having Firewire...

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone