Larry Hester has spent half of his life in darkness. But, thanks to the technological advancement of a bionic eye implant, he's now able to see again. A new video from Duke Medicine shows the first heartwarming moments after Hester regained his vision.
Larry, who's now 66, lost his sight due to a hereditary condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes damage to the retina. But, with the help of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Device implanted in one eye, he can now see flashes of light and a "pixelated" type of vision that helps him distinguish between objects in his field of view, explains Patrick Finnerty of Second Sight Medical Products in the recently released video. So, although it's probably not as good as your vision, it is a significant improvement over what Hester was used to.
Unlike a classic sci-fi bionic eyeball, though, the Argus II actually includes a chip that's implanted in the eye. The user's glasses contain a camera that picks up light signals, which are then interpreted by the chip. Hester's system was surgically implanted by Duke University's Paul Hahn, MD, last month.
Hester is now the seventh person in the U.S. to receive the device. The first was Lisa Kulik, who received her implant this summer. "So," says Dr. Hahn, "the journey is just beginning." Suffice it to say, the future is looking brighter.