Blindness affects millions of people around the world. Whether it occurs as a result of an illness or accident, or someone was born blind, losing eyesight can be an extremely devastating thing to deal with. Over several years, a medical miracle known as bionic vision has shocked and surprised the medical community. The procedure generally consists of a very small camera that is attached to the optic nerve in the visual cortex, which is then attached to a stimulator on the retina. The entire device is held in place by a pair of glasses, which is attached to a small computer, which in turn sends signals that mimic sight directly to the patient’s brain.
A woman named Cheri Robertson is the 16th person to undergo the procedure for bionic vision. She lost her vision in a violent car accident at the age of 19 several years ago, and went completely blind. With the help of the procedure, she can now function much more efficiently than before. While her eyesight is not completely restored, she can now see outlines and basic images, unlike before the procedure. Currently, there are about one million blind adults in America, and this does not include children. Since there are so many people suffering from blindness, one may think this new miracle would be an automatic part of helping blind people see again. However, it is still fairly new and comes at a cost of anywhere from $20-$30,000.
There are many factors that doctors use to determine the best candidates for the bionic vision procedure. People like Cheri Robertson have had to travel to another country in order to have it performed, since it is not currently available in the United States.
Ultimately, the goal of bionic vision is to help blind adults be more independent and function in society, instead of feeling as if they are now doomed to stay inside or only do things with someone helping them. There are currently only a handful of people who have had the procedure, but that number is expected to increase as new technology surfaces.