By Kaitlynn Bayne
On October 7th, Larry Hester was able to see for the first time in over 30 years. No, his site didn’t magically appear, and the doctors were not able to make him see what we see. However, with the bionic eye technology, Hester was able to see the difference between light and dark.
Just being able to tell between light and dark might sound a little disappointing, but for someone who has been blind half of his or her life, seeing this contrast is life changing. The Bionic Eye isn’t actually an eye--it is a pair of glasses that have a camera that captures video and creates an electric signal.
As the Huffington Post explains, this signal is then through an implanted electronic stimulator (put into the eye through surgery) and sent to undamaged cells in the retina. When this signal is received, the brain interprets the signal as fragments of bright and dark. What the contrast of light and dark means depends on the person. It can help direct them through doorways and can help them tell when an object is in their way. Sure, this isn’t a full-cure to being blind. However, it is a big step in the right direction.
The Bionic Eye technology first came onto the market around 2011. Hester is now the seventh person in the US to be using this technology. The Bionic Eye is quite pricy, costing around $100,000, but hopefully in the next few years, the technology will become more readily available.
And who knows? Maybe in the near future, even more progress will be made with the Bionic Eye, allowing people to see even clearer after years of only being able to see darkness. It’ quite amazing to think of all the things that technology can do!
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