European regulators have approved a first-ever artificial retina, Bionic eye, in Britain that can make blind people see.
The eye that will enable blind people to see has been cleared for implantation in British patients after it was granted approval by European regulators.
The award of a CE mark to the device means that it can be given to private patients, at a cost of 53,000 pounds.
Till now, the eye has been implanted in 30 patients, 10 of whom were treated in Britain. Results show that it can safely restore some vision in people who have lost their sight to a genetic disease.
Argus II uses a camera on dark glasses to send signals to a network of 60 electrodes implanted in the retina, which relays them to the optic nerve.
Patients who have received the prosthetic retina could reportedly see light, motion and colour, discern the outlines of objects and even read large letters on a computer screen.
The implant is especially designed for patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) a condition, which damages the light-sensitive rod and cone cells of the retina.
This leads to impaired vision in poor light followed by tunnel vision that often deteriorates into complete blindness.
"Patients with RP who can afford it can now have an artificial retina. It is proof of principle, always the great unknown with new technology," the Herald Sun quoted Lyndon Da Cruz, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London as saying.
The results of the trial have been presented at the Euretina ophthalmology conference in London.