An 89-year-old woman in Northern California, who was blind for seven years, has spoken of her joy at being able to see better than ever, after receiving a pioneering pea-sized telescope implant.
Surgeons at UC Davis Medical Centre successfully implanted a tiny telescope implant in the eye of Dorothy Bane in May, the Daily Mail reported.
She has suffered from end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness.
Bane is among the first in the world to receive the implant, and it has already let her read again.
“I can see better than ever now. Colors are more vibrant, beautiful and natural, and I can read large print with my glasses,” she said.
Bane, who was a watercolour artist, said she hopes the implant will let her pick up a paintbrush again.
“I haven’t been able to read for the past seven years, and I look forward to being able to paint again,” she said.
The implant is able to focus images on the undamaged areas of the retina.
The groundbreaking operation could lead to the procedure becoming commonplace.
“Macular degeneration damages the retina and causes a blind spot in a person’s central field of vision,” Mark Mannis, professor and chair of ophthalmology and vision sciences and director of the Eye Center at UC Davis Health System, said.
“The telescopic implant restores vision by projecting images onto an undamaged portion of the retina, which makes it possible for patients to again see people’s faces and the details of objects located directly in front of them,” he said.
Bane is the first in her state and among the first 50 individuals in the nation to receive the implant.
Since her surgery, Bane has been working with Society for the Blind optometrists and UC Davis occupational therapists to learn how to use her new telescopic eye.