Moorfields patient receives bionic chip implant in blind eye
A patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital has been able to detect electronically generated visual signals with her blind left eye, thanks to a successfully implanted microchip. She is the first UK patient to receive this new device as part of the PRIMAvera study, a Europe-wide clinical trial for the new technology.
This bionic chip will potentially have a significant positive impact on the quality of life for people with the condition.
The procedure to insert the device took place in early December 2021. The operation involves inserting a 2mm-wide microchip under the centre of the patient’s retina, by surgically creating a trapdoor into which the chip is posted.
Patient with bionic implant
Dr Mahi Muqit
The study is being led by Dr Mahi Muqit, consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields, honorary clinical lecturer at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) research investigator. Dr Muqit, who carried out the surgery back in December and switched on the device this week, said:
For the device to complete the task of delivering vision to the patient, it relies on special glasses containing a video camera connected to a small computer, which is attached to a waistband worn by the patient. The process works as follows:
Glasses being adjusted
The Moorfields patient will now go through a rehabilitation programme to learn how to use the new vision they have gained. One of the main aims of the study is to quantify the level of vision that is restored and the speed at which the processing takes place.
When the rehabilitation is complete, patients will potentially be able to recognise items as small as words, and be able to read again.
The patient, an 88-year-old women who has seven children and eight grandchildren, is the first in the UK to benefit from this implant, said: