‘I Was Blind… Now I Have Bionic Eyes’

from BBC

Fran Fulton is 66, and she’s been fully blind for about 10 years. A few weeks ago, all that changed.

Fulton suffers from retinitis pigmentosa – a degenerative eye disease that slowly causes light-sensitive cells in the retina to die off. Over the course of several years she lost her sight, and for the past 10 years she hasn’t been able to see anything at all. But in late July, Fulton was outfitted with a system called the Argus II. A pair of camera-equipped glasses are hooked up to electrodes implanted in her eyeball, which feed her brain visual information. Using the system, she can now see the world again. What’s the experience like?

“When they ‘turned me on’ so to speak it was absolutely the most breathtaking experience,” she says. “I was just so overwhelmed and so excited, my heart started beating so fast I had to put my hand on my chest because I thought it was going to pop.”

As both cameras and our understanding of the visual system improve, new techniques to restore sight to the blind are progressing too. Devices like the Argus II are able to bypass damaged eyes to restore some vision to those who have lost it. It’s not the same as fully restored vision, and it’s still early days – there are only six people in the US with the Argus II – but researchers hope that as they learn more about vision they can help those who’ve lost it get it back.

More here.

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71 Responses to ‘I Was Blind… Now I Have Bionic Eyes’

  1. Dominique Fortes October 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    It’s amazing how technology has advanced so much that we can now do things that we never thought possible. We have a computer that fits in our pocket. We can communicate with people instantaneously. And now we can even fix sight. Laser surgery was an advancement of its own, but now we are able to cure complete blindness, not just simple visual impairments.

    It appears as though this technology is fairly limited, as many people have noted. But that’s not too big of a deal because technology is changing day after day. New advancements are not just wanted. They’re expected. It’s truly incredible that since the 90s, we’ve developed technology able to mimick the human body’s ability. We’ve gotten past prosthetic legs and now are creating prosthetic senses.

  2. Kevin Namendorf October 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    This is a wonderful story and a breakthrough in technology for an aging woman named Fran Fulton. She is sixty-six and had been blind for ten years. Fran has a disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye disease that slowly kills light-sensitive cells in the retina. She agreed to try the innovative Argus II system to get her sight back. The way the system works is actually not that complicated. It is made of three parts: a pair of glasses, a converter box, and an electrode array. So, the camera-equipped glasses are hooked up to the electrodes that have been implanted in her eyeball. This is how her brain is fed the visual information. The glasses are not corrective, they are just a “vehicle” for the camera and this camera does not even have to be better than the ones used in our smartphones.The image picked up from the camera gets transmitted to the converter box. This converter box can be carried conveniently in a purse or a pocket. Then, the converter box sends a signal to the electrode array implanted into the retina. Basically what the Argus II does is skips over the cells the cells that the retinitis pigmentosa has killed to get the visual signals to the brain.

    This is a great story for this woman and she was so grateful to see again. She expressed her happiness, “When they ‘turned me on’ so to speak, it was absolutely the most breathtaking experience.” She continued, “I was just so overwhelmed and so excited, my heart started beating so fast I had to put my hand on my chest because I thought it was going to pop.” The Argus II system is an amazing breakthrough in technology because now people willing to do this can see again.

  3. Curt Delia October 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    After reading this article it made me wonder what tomorrow will bring with the many technological advances that surface each day. Who would have thought that after 10 years of being blind a man by the name of Fran Fulton would be able to see again. This is when the use of technology is truly amazing and hopefully this innovation will be able to reach all who suffer from being blind. Although the technology is not full proof due to only producing a pixelated image for the patient, the Argus II is most likely not far away from producing a picture perfect image. This breakthrough invention will open doors to many other innovations in the near future. Most cannot comprehend the idea of being blind including me and to be able to see again Fulton must have been beside himself. When science can create this emotion within people it truly makes the work put into it worth it.
    The cost for the Argus II system is pretty high which puts the new technology out of reach to many individuals. Hopefully in upcoming years new innovations will accompany this new tech allowing the system to cost less for less fortunate persons. All in all, this new groundbreaking invention is going to help many people in the near future and will only become more advanced opening doors to countless possibilities.

  4. Alexa Lindsay October 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    The fact that someone can have bionic eyes is astonishing and the whole reason why I read this article is because of the title “I was blind…now I have bionic eyes.” This article by Rose Eveleth tells the story of a woman who was blind, but now with bionic eyes, she has limited sight. I choose to read this article because to me, it is a small miracle that someone who has lost her sight, probably with no aspirations of having sight again, was able to take back something that we all take for granted.

    One take away I got from this article was that technology is making advancements to help lost sensations. The Argus II is what the bionic eyes are. Although they do not have the capabilities yet to give blind people who qualify for this their full eyesight back, it gives them a picture. The Argus II lets users see like a pixelated version of what they are seeing. The Argus II is “a pair of camera-equipped glasses that are hooked up to electrodes implanted in the eyeball, which feeds the brain visual information.” One limitation of the Argus II is that not all blind people are eligible to use it; “they have to have an intact retina for the implant to work.” Although this limits the people who can take advantage of the Argus II’s technology, it gives hope that down the line technology can be developed for people who do not have an intact retina. It will take a long time to develop since it might have to wait for the level of technology to meet up with our ideas. But I think that it is possible because I would have never thought that any blind people, retina intact or not, would be able to have any sense of sight again. Another limitation is that the Argus II projects the images in black and white. But I’m pretty sure that a person who was blind and got some sight back couldn’t care that mush what color their sight is. They are just happy to be able to see again. I think that have sight in color will be developed for the Argus II at some point though.

    As a person who has to wear contacts or glasses at all times to see, I’m excited to see what technology will be available to make seeing easier for people who have unfortunately lost that privilege. I have always thought about getting eye surgery to make it so I do not have to wear contacts or glasses anymore, but until reading this article, I never thought that it would be possible the blind could get their eyesight back in some sense. It gives me hope that the Argus will continue to update and advance further to give better and clearer sight to the users of Argus II, and that all blind people will have a chance to see again.

  5. Samantha A October 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    It’s incredible that we now live in an age where people who were once blind can now begin to see again. The technology of the Argus II is something that sounds relatively simple, although it is probably much more complicated. I think that it is amazing that doctors are able to give some kind of hope to those who are blind. This technology can only improve as other technologies improve around it. The best part of the whole thing is thinking that someday we may be able to improve all sorts of different disabilities. We truly are living in an incredible age where almost anything is possible if you can dream up the idea.

  6. Jackie H October 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Technologies as well as medical advancements are making huge strides of improvement that help people. This article was about a woman who has been blind for ten years but is now able to see. In order to regain sight she had to go into surgery for the procedure and learn how to use the converter box. After, her vision is not perfect in the least but she is now able to see some things.
    With modern technology scientists were able to better understand the problem in order to find a solution. It is impressive the concepts and techniques that they are coming up with to improve both the medical and technological field. Dr. Greenberg, the one who created the procedure, was able to figure out a way to send the impulses directly to the brain, which is amazing. This system to produce impulses must be complex due to the brain having such a complex and intricate system. The article states that only six people have had this procedure but I think that with more advancement this procedure will be more accessible to others. This technology is already becoming more common. This procedure includes a component of a camera which is the same camera component that is in any average smart phone camera. This shows that the advancements in technology are not only affecting the medical field, it is actually being integrated into society.
    After the procedure ones’ vision it is not perfect but it is still an improvement from being blind. It must bring mass amount of joy knowing that you can do simple things like walking through a door without hitting your shoulders even though they still cannot see faces or colors. A person might not see colors but they are able to see things in shades of black and white. It also must be difficult to learn how to adjust to your know vision after going so long without not seeing anything. In addition the vision after the procedure is different than it was when you could see. However being able to see something that you never thought you would see again such as fireworks must bring overwhelming amount of joy. This procedure creates a huge impact on a person who was once blind and now sees some things like shapes and objects.

  7. James Butrico November 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    The Argus II system sounds like the beginning of restoring sight to those who have lost it. While it sounds like a very basic system and people can’t see too well with it, it is the best attempt in this area of bioengineering thus far. I wonder if this will ever become advanced enough to let people see things as they actually are. As of right now, scientists are far from coming up with that advanced a system. Not only do they have to improve this system to make images more easily seen, but also broaden the amount of people that could use it. What about the people that lost their eyesight and no longer have their retinas? Will a system ever be developed for those people? I’m sure the potential exists, but it is still years extensive research away.
    My first reaction to reading this article was mixed. I was both excited about the technology and worried for some organizations that train dogs to guide blind people. I think that it is wonderful that in the future, blind people may be able to see again, but it makes me sad to think that these guide dog organizations would no longer be of use. I know people that raise dogs for The Seeing Eye, one such organization, and love to hear about how those dogs become the eyes and companions for blind people. However, as I read through the article, I discovered that science is still quite far from reaching the point where guide dogs wouldn’t be useful any longer. Hopefully the dogs can still be issued as companions, in case the system fails. It’s interesting how advancements in science can be great for some people, but harmful to organizations like that. Either way, people can gain some independence back either through the Argus II system or a guide dog. And while the Argus II system allows people to discern light and dark areas, it is still far from fully restoring one’s sight.

  8. JL November 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    This scientific advancement is extremely exciting. I grew up watching the Six Million Dollar Man and science is slowly advancing towards the premise of the show. This technology still needs work as the patient could only see generalized objects but this is only the beginning. I am eagerly awaiting full robotic limbs that will be indistinguishable from normal human limbs. Certain disabilities could eventually become a thing of the past.

  9. Courtney Achille February 20, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    The innovations in modern technology are amazing, especially in the medical field, and it is remarkable how many impaired body functions can no longer be considered a permanent abnormality. There are many types of surgeries to help with physical disabilities but not a lot of them have been tested enough in order for them to become extremely popular. The surgery for bionic eyes discussed in the article has only been done on six people which is very low rate, however, it may gain popularity in the future. The bionic eyes allow people to see shapes and light, however, everything the person sees is in black and white. This technological innovation can change many people’s lives who are blind and this is an opportunity to give a lot of people the opportunity to see. The woman, Fran Fulton, who received the operation said it has changed her life, and now she no longer needs assistance with things and can finally be an independent person. The ability to give someone sight is amazing and these bionic eyes are truly a gift for those who suffer from blindness.

    I feel there are some negative aspects that come from the bionic eyes surgery such as the price. The majority of people probably cannot afford this surgery and insurance is definitely not going to be covering a cosmetic surgery like this. The bionic eyes have the potential to help a multitude of people but most people will not have the opportunity to get this surgery. Another concern with the bionic eyes is that the eyes do not give perfect sight and a person who has then cannot make out faces but only figures. Frank Fulton said she is only able to see figures and light which for a blind person is a significant difference, however, I think the engineers can work more on the bionic eyes in order to create eyes that come closer to actual sight. The bionic eyes have the potential to completely revolutionize the world and can possibly eradicate the idea of blindness.

  10. Alfred Valli February 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    This article is very amazing and it is crazy to think that these sort of medical procedures are taking place this soon. Not too long ago this kind of operation would of been unimaginable and these doctors and scientists that make these must have worked very hard not only to create this technology but to actually use it and successfully implant it on multiple people.

    The only drawback to this Argus II treatment was that it will only work for people who lost their sight yet still have an intact retina. This means that this current system will only work for a few people, and I can imagine that this sort of procedure is very expensive based on its rarity and complicated nature. The other thing that is not great about this is that it is In black and white, and that the people can see shapes and make out most things but they cannot recognize faces or read signs or words. If there are advances in this technology it will be a life changing thing to a lot of people. This woman was speechless and she got her vision back yet can only see black and white and can only see certain shapes. Though this doesn’t seem like a lot to a person with good sight I could only imagine that not being able to see for 10 years it would be incredible to see anything.

    This technology will change a lot of peoples lives. If it can be improved and perfected this will change the world and it would make blindness a thing of the past. It leads me to believe that there is much more in store for technology like this. If we can send images to our brains through cameras what else could be in store and how many other advances could be made in the coming years. I believe we will see tremendous advances in this system and medical care in the coming years and it will lead to prolonged and better lives.

  11. Dakota Best February 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    This breakthrough in technology is absolutely amazing! The ability ti be able to give sight back to the blind is absolutely breathtaking! Today’s society has advanced so much in the positive direction that it is amazing. I feel that if this technology is readily available to the common person then this advancement can really change lives. So many individuals lose sight for different reasons, and if they were able to regain their sight, that would be a great thing for them. They would then be able to rejoin and enjoy their families and their lives.

    This could also lead to an advancement in other technologies. Some of these could be extended life, or even an endless life. These advancements that come in society can change the way that e live our lives. Science has changed the way we live our lives and will continue to do so as can be seen in this article. I really feel like this advancement has and will continue to change the world. Great minds come up with new ideas each and every day and this is one of those ideas that will change the course of the world for the world. I am really excited to see where te technology of regaining sight goes from here. There are so many different ways it can go, that whatever way it does end up going will be awesome no matter what.

  12. Jonathan Yohanan February 20, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    Unbelievable, is one of the few words that can describe this miracle. Curing the blind, is one of the many miracles that scientists have dreamed of. Sight is one of the six senses that most of us take for grant it. And for Fulton, to have and to have loss, is an experience that no one wants to be able to say they have gone through. But she has and it’s incredible that she and others like her can see again. Although it is not your vision cannot yet be fully restored, there is hope. Scientists have made the breakthrough that we need to start changing the world.

    For now the Argus II is only black and white objects and shapes. But not all blind people can use the Argus II. Damaged retinas are something that the scientists cannot work with. The thin piece over your eye is dangerous to toy with. And if it ripped then sight would be lost forever. Scientists are working to bypass the retinal layer and go straight to the visual brain region to help those with retinal damage. Once this is completed we can surely be in awe.

  13. Kevin Dorward February 20, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Being able to see again must be an amazing experience for people who have been completely blind. Just being able to tell an object is in front of your eyes is worth every penny of the operation. Technology is really evolving as one can see from this article. Being able to partially restore a person’s eye sight with technology is an amazing accomplishment with amazing effects on people. It can mean the world to people to be able to somewhat see the people that they love once again. It really shows how technology is meant to make life easy for people and in this case people with disabilities

    This technology really shows how far technology has come. Being able to see again through a piece of technology is a great accomplishment which leaves room for the possibility of restoring other senses that people have lost. Senses like hearing has been restored through technology and it is almost time that we can restore other senses to people. It’s only a matter of time when we are able to do this and it will be a great thing for human beings. Once we are able to understand the human brain almost anything is possible and we will be able to understand all of our senses and if and how we can restore the senses. It is really exciting to see this type of technology advance and I hope to see more advances in it.

  14. Suzaun Shahamat February 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    I don’t know why this is the first I am hearing of the Argus II! This device is absolutely amazing. Giving the people a chance to see the world for the first time after only hearing and touching must have been an absolutely breathtaking experience for Fran. She gets to live her life to the fullest with her family and see the faces of her children. I cannot imagine a life without being able to see whats in front of me and the thought of that is scary on its own. I find it amazing how far technology has come to give this lady a chance of a life time.
    In a few seconds someone can go from completely blind to being able to see within seconds. Even tho the device, Argus, is black and white its still a huge improvement from not being able to see. Fran Fuller is now able to be able to care for her family, cook, and watch tv as a family. I know one way me and my family love spending time is cooking and watching tv together and I would be devastated if I did not have my vision to enjoy those things.
    One problem with this device is that if people lose their vision due to diabetes or other illness’s it will not work. I would like to see technology advance even more so, so that it gives everyone a chance to see. Cost is also a concern for me, a device like this can’t be cheap and the economy is still not where it used to be. This article made me really happy when I read it because It had such a happy ending. Articles like this really gives humanity a sense of hope that research will advance and there will be cures for terminal illness’s.

  15. Catherine Gbogi April 3, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Rose Eveleth lets us into the miraculous story of Fran Fulton a 66 year old woman, who had lost her sight for 10 years. In a way, I think that’s the scariest, to have sight and be able to see all the bright colors around you and then lost it and be in the dark. But, soon, no one will have to live with that fear.

    Eveleth writes about how Fulton got a bionic eye implanted within the retina of her real eye. Her doctors tried this out on her and now she is able to perceive light as well as certain other shapes. Needless to say, she is a very happy woman.
    With technological advances like these that one only dreamed of or saw in movies, creating humans much like a real life cyborg, this is a pretty amazing technological step forward. These scientist and doctors are bringing ideas we only watched on TV or saw in movies out into the real world. But, of course, many questions still remain from their inventions. For example, how do you make a brain utilize information from robotic parts. The brain is a very complicated and important organ within the human body and finding ways for it’s neurons to directly sync up with outer body items is a big step within a human life. These inventors are kind of like superheros in a way, so far their inventions are being used for good, kind of like firemen helping elderly people.

  16. Nicholas B. November 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Letting people who are legally blind to be able to see again is an amazing invention. The bionic eye hopefully is only the beginning in a new wave of technologically corrected handicaps. As technology advances so will the new innovations, as the articles states the bionic eye is only in black and white and still needs vast improvements. This is just the first step for people who have been blind for years in regaining their sight. I think the most amazing part of this invention is the simplicity of the procedure. Going from no sight to any at all in only a week is extraordinary. The complex situation of finding something that could sit on the retina and not damage it was noted in being harder than the algorithms for the bionic eye. Knowing how hard writing an algorithm is it just shows how much development was needed to get the bionic eye just right. It is always interesting how they test products that are put on or in humans. It was interesting that they didn’t mention how they tested the product prior to putting it in a practical use. I wish they had included it in the article.

  17. Felicia Benjamin April 8, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Losing the ability to see is a life hindering and unfortunate experience. It is difficult to imagine how I would cope with the fact that I were slowly losing my vision, and eventually my ability to enjoy the sights in the world where I resided would become a thing of the past, or a distant memory. I highly doubt many others would know how to cope with that experience either, so this remarkable implant process is a wonderful use of technology and a hopeful tool for preventing others from experiencing such suffering. The fact that a machine can be implanted and connected to nerves within the eye, or placed on the retina, to bring forth sight is simply a miracle, and I am glad to witness events such as this because it reinforces the idea that our society does not only use technology to broadcast our lives. Instead, strides such as this reveal that technology can be used to improve the lives of many individuals around the world. After learning more about how the system operates, the process appears to be more intricate than I expected but it is also surprisingly simple. Essentially, this device, the Argus II, does not repair the defective cells of the eye but disregards them and operates by transmitting visual optics from one component of the system to another. The glasses the patient wears hold a camera that records video that is then transmitted to an external box which transmits the images to an electrode array implanted onto deeper components of the recipient’s eye. With that said, the experience for the patient is relatively quick and pleasant. After undergoing a procedure that takes a couple of hours, they return to their homes to heal for a week. After their eyes have healed they return to the facility to be educated on how to operate their new eyes. The progress and improvements of the Argues II, bring hope for many around the world. At the moment, the device does not restore full vision, but the ability to see anything is better than seeing complete darkness. Currently, the device allows recipients to see outlines of figures and contrasts in lighting. However, their other senses and methods of perception have heightened as a result of not being able to see completely. In addition to their interpretation of the images projected by the device, Argus II users rely on other factors such as their hearing and spatial perception to navigate through their daily routines. The device is not perfect yet, but there is room for improvement and the initial device shows brilliant results. The creation and success of this device progresses the world that much closer to restoring full sight to many others who currently suffer from blindness. Many take the ability to see for granted, but I doubt we would know how to survive if our ability to see were taken from us. Also, we should not wait until we are blind to utilize our other senses to their full capacity. One thing we can learn from Argus patients is the power of learning, perception, and interpretation. Things may not always be as they appear so we need to be like new Argus patients and use our full array of senses, knowledge and experiences to fully interpret a situation. Also, as a society we need to continue to learn. Individuals need to learn how to decipher. Individuals need to learn how to think outside of traditional views. Individuals need to learn how to do more than cope in order thrive in the face of adversity. These Argus patients are not only grateful, but ambitious. They understand both sides of the situation and are able to thrive with the resources they have, which is a skill members of society need to strive to incorporate into their everyday mindset.

  18. Jalen Leacock April 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    A sense is a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for perception. It a huge lost to lose anyone of your senses because they will work together to allow you to understand the universe around you. One of worst fears of humanities is not being able to see because it is such an important sense because a lot of things depend on your ability to see like driving a car and flying a plane and it also makes it more difficult for you to do other things such as typing and reading. I know that if I lost my eyesight I would probably fall into a bout of depression due to the fact that I was so used to using my eyes to do everyday task that I would not instantly cope with the fact that I no longer can use my eyes. So I can’t imagine what no being able to see would be like. Not only does the Argus II restore the eyesight of the people who had their eyesight before it also could give eyesight to the people who never had it. Just 10 years ago giving eyesight to the blind would have been considered a miracle now it is reality. Imagine what else we could do next.
    The interesting that about the Argus II is that it basically, “skip over the cells that retinitis pigmentosa has killed to get visual signals to the brain.” This amazing because the device knows exactly what type of cells to target instead of eradicating the cells in a general area. This shows progression in cell targeting, this could be useful in the future for people trying to get rid of cancerous cells in the body. The Argus II works though using, “the information from the camera into signals that the electrodes implanted in the eye can use, and that the brain can interpret. “ This shows advance in the study of the brain which is huge because we don’t really 100 percent know how our brain works.
    The thing that bothers me is if there is like an updated version of this they definitely are going to have to cut that out of the person’s eye and implant another one, which would be painful and potentially dangerous. Another problem I see with this is that it doesn’t really help you have vision it just makes you see shapes, which is still useful but the title was highly deceiving. It made me think that people could just instantly see after this surgery. However it is still an important step to recovering sight for people around the world.
    Another question that is raised is how much does this surgery cost and will people who don’t have the money to get these implants be able to get the procedure done some way. Because it is messed up that you can heal yourself from blindness if you have money.
    In conclusion this is a great invention for the progression of the human race as a whole.

  19. Matthew Bacho April 8, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    If one thing could be learned from my blog comments over the past few weeks, is that I love science and technology. This article was a really good read because it incorporated both of those things, which I love. Fran Fulton, a sixty six year old lady, had been blind for roughly ten years, meaning she procured her blindness at around age fifty six. Some people are born with ocular disease and are blind, right off the bat. Others, like Mrs. Fulton, lived half a century until an ocular disease started to affect her. The ocular disease that hit Fulton is known as retinitis pigmentosa. Even if you had little knowledge in the science or anatomical field, it would not be too hard to realise that the words come from retina and pigment. Essentially what this disease does, is slowly because the light sensitive cells of the retina to die. Our eyes perceive because of the light, which explains our lack of vision in the dark. This degenerative disease hit Fulton and someone who could once see, began to see the world as if she were wearing a very thick blindfold. She remained in that darkness for around ten years until she was offered the Argus II program. Argus in Greek mythology, was a monster with one hundred eyes, used by Hera to watch over Io. With that knowledge, it is easy to see why this ocular program was called Argus. Though it is not yet fully an ocular transplant. So far, the only transplantable part of the eye, is the cornea, the very front and clear part of the eye. Hopefully soon with our advances in science and technology, we will be able to fully transplant a whole eye. But what the Argus II program does to fix the problem with the retina, is utilise three devices. These three gadgets are glasses, a converter box, and an electrode array. The glasses are not corrective glasses, rather cameras that view the world like we would if we were wearing non-prescription glasses. These glasses are hooked up to the converter box, which can fit in a pocket or purse. The box then transmits the signals to the electrode array, which is implanted in the patient’s retina. With Retinitis Pigmentosa, the cells in the retina that can take in light and help create an image have died, so the implanted electrode array, bypasses those cells and instead, sends the incoming signals straight to the brain, to allow the patient to see once again. Such was the case with Fulton, where the second they turned on the device, she was instantly able to see a lot better than in the past ten years. Since the Argus II is still experimental and our knowledge is still not yet at its peak, the device doesn’t allow the patient to see 100%, but it does give more vision than they previously had, and that is a feat on its own. With only six people in the US with Argus II, the scientists behind it hope to further their knowledge in the field and work on mastering their technologies so that 100% of vision can be restored. It is incredible to see how far we’ve come as a society and maybe one day soon we will see even further advances to remedy these previously untreatable conditions.

  20. Adara Gonzalez April 7, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    I could not help but have a smile on my face while reading this article. I am the type of person in which my tears will quickly well up for those YouTube videos about people being able to see for the first time, they always get me. More likely than not, it is because it tends to hit close to home for me. Ever since kindergarten, I have needed glasses, I cannot recall a time in which I did not depend on two pieces of glass for everything that I do. I do not remember how my face looks without them, if I take them off, I cannot see my face, no matter how close to a mirror I get. I have learned to apply eyeliner with my glasses on in order to avoid messing up a cat eye, and I can do a pretty good Velma impression whenever my glasses fall to the ground. Even though I have had glasses for as long as my educational career, my eyesight is not getting better, in fact it is deteriorating as I age. The only way this can be corrected is by going through the Lasik eye surgery, although it is very costly for me, so for now my glasses will have to suffice. Either way, Laski eye surgery is only a temporary fix; eventually my eyesight will deteriorate with time, destroying any kind of progress that might have been made in the meantime.
    Since my deteriorating eyesight has always accompanied me, I understand and sympathize for those who are just being able to see, or discovering the beauty of perfect eyesight. I wish to one day live that for myself without using glasses as a crutch. This article had me at the edge of my sight, although I was reading, the whole time I was skimming through asking, “Will this also work for me?” I am not an optician and I barely really know much about my eyesight condition, but I achieved the conclusion that sadly the Argus II system is not for me. In the article it states that it is not a system that all blind people have the ability to use, stating, “Those who lost their sight to things like diabetes, glaucoma, or infection and who have damage to the retina cannot use the Argus II system.” I assume that I fall under the category of those who cannot benefit from using the Argus II system.
    However, I could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of joy while reading Fran Fulton’s story of achieving eyesight. In the article she referred back to a time in which she was using the Argus II system and she was completely independent. Not having to use a guide, but being able to see the person in front of her and walk out of the restaurant. That sensation of independence, not having to use a crutch for those simple things in life is what I wish one day I could do. Like Fulton, without my glasses I would need help in safely exiting an unknown area, I wish one day I would not have use my glasses in order to successful achieve these small goals in life. With the Argus II system however, it is a step in the right direction to get there. One day I may not have to use glasses as a crutch, but hopefully as a fashion statement in the sun.

  21. Samuel Kihuguru October 8, 2019 at 5:38 pm #

    I was moved by this article. The advances technology has accomplished in the past two decades have been remarkable, but its accolades are most respected in the health and medicine sector. In the 19th century, the ravenous highly-infectious disease tuberculosis was on the rise for several nations across the globe. Many of the authors whose books we have to come to know and love, like George Orwell and Edgar Allan Poe, were victims of what was an incurable airborne disease. People ill with TB could infect up to 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without the proper treatment, up to two thirds of people ill with TB died. But since 2000, 53 million lives have been saved through effective diagnosis and treatment. The active, drug-sensitive TB disease was treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs – pharmaceuticals that were created alongside advances in the medical technology industry. The eradication of victims suffering from the symptoms of tuberculosis was a historic achievement for mankind. Today millions of us move around as carriers of the virus, immune to plague that brought the death count to Black Plague record-highs. Reading this article moved me because the matter of blindness is such a present disability for people in any part of the world. Thinking of how the Argus II was able to connect the light-sensitive cornea-substitute camera through the implanted electrodes on the retina to produce an black and white image, I could help but take a deep breath on a scientific breakthrough that would well the eyes of hundreds of millions of global citizens waiting for such a miracle. No, the technology does not give full colored vision, but it is a big radical step towards making a positive change to our society. Natural blindness should no longer translate to incurable blindness

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