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Bionic Eye on ABC TV

image-tools (36)ABC TV’s 7.30 Report show has highlighted Australia’s leadership in developing a bionic eye that will be ready for patient tests in 2013.

The show featured Professor Anthony Burkitt, Director of Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), and Dr Lauren Ayton, Bionic Eye Research Coordinator for the Centre for Eye Research Australia.

Professor Burkitt explained that the bionic eye is the next generation of medical bionics in Australia, following the development of the heart pacemaker and the cochlear implant.

The bionic eye will send electric currents to stimulate nerves at the back of eye, and enable people with significant vision loss to see spots of light.

Dr Ayton said the research is focused on two of the most common forms of vision loss: retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“The research is complex – while there are 12,000 cells to be stimulated to enable people to hear again, more than 1.2 million cells need to be stimulated to provide vision,” she said.

While the bionic eye is a way off from providing full colour or vision, recipients will benefit from greater independence and a much improved quality of life.

You can watch the 7:30 Report story or read the transcript online here.