UCHealth eye center restores sight to blind patient; Coloradan receives region's first "bionic eye"

DENVER - You have probably heard of the bionic man, but how about the bionic eye? It sounds like science fiction, but surgeons at UCHealth Eye Center have restored limited sight to a blind patient with the region's first bionic eye surgery.

Because of this surgery, Jamie Carley can now see the outlines of objects, perceive darkness and light and someone that she's been waiting to see for 29 years.

“I saw my son for the first time on Friday and it was amazing,” she said.

The silhouette of her son brings tears to her eyes. “It was amazing. I lost shadow vision years ago,” Carley said.

Carly suffers from retinitis pigmantosa, a disease that causes cells in the retina to slowly die. “I had no vision in my right eye for many, many years,” she said.

But now, with the click of a switch, she is seeing light.

“It's taken almost 20 years for this technology to reach fruition,” said Dr. Naresh Mandava, an ophthalmologist at UCHealth Eye Center.

It's called the Argus II. It is a pair of glasses with a camera that wirelessly transmits video to a microchip implanted in the eye.

“I have 60 electrodes now implanted in my right eye,” she said.

Dr. Mandava says in the coming months, Carley’s brain will learn how to interpret the new optical signals and her sight will continue to improve.

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