Ray Flynn is an 80-year-old British man, suffering from the age-related macular degeneration (AMD), meaning a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina.
Flynn, for example, wasn't able to see numbers on playing cards or type in his credit card PIN. He said he ''wasn't able to tell the weeds from the flowers'' while garedning.
Doctors and researchers concluded Flynn was the ideal candidate to undergo a surgery, during which they would replace his own retina by a retinal prosthesis called Argus II. Two weeks after the surgery the patient was able to look at the screen during clinical trials and determine whether a series of black and white bars on the screen were vertical, horizontal or diagonal. And that is something people with AMD are not able to see.
Even though the implant does not at all secure 20/20 vision, the 80-year-old man now sees the outlines of people and objects and is the first known patient with cured AMD.
How does Argus II work? The patient must wear glasses with a tiny camera that collects visual data. Processed information is then converted into electrical impulses and sent wirelessly to electrodes in the retinal prosthetic. The electric signal stimulates the cells, which then 'explain' to the brain, what images are out there, 'seen' by the patient.
The coolest thing, which you probably didn't expect reading this, is that Flynn is now able to see things even with his eyes closed!