06 Nov First bionic eye for age related eye condition
First bionic eye for age related eye condition
Retina South Africa today welcomed the news of the 1st artificial retina implanted into a patient with Age Related Macular Degeneration [AMD]. Surgeons in Manchester, Britain implanted this silicon based retinal chip that replaces the dying photoreceptors- the cells in the eye that process light and send a neural signal to the brain.
The device that has taken 20 years to develop has previously only been implanted into patients with severe vision loss caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa [RP]. People affected by RP lose peripheral vision while AMD patients lose precious central vision.
The chip does not restore complete vision but patients learn to interpret the flashes of images from the miniature camera mounted on a spectacle frame.
AMD affects around 40 million people worldwide and about 120 000 Caucasian South Africans. “Our indigenous black population is probably genetically protected from AMD” said Claudette Medefindt, head of Science for Retina South Africa. “More research funding would allow us to research this important aspect of AMD in South Africa for AMD is more prevalent in other African countries.”
Retina South Africa supports the Retinal Degeneration project at the Division of Human genetics at the University of Cape Town headed by Professor Raj Ramesar. This project is investigating the genetic cause of retinal degeneration in South African families. Anyone who would like more information on AMD or any other genetic retinal condition should contact Retina South Africa at 0860 595959 or visit www.retinasa.org.za.
For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Deputy President | Retina International
Director for Science | Retina South Africa