Allen Zderad began to experience rapidly deteriorating vision 20 years ago and after 10 years he fully lost his ability to see. Zderad suffers from a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has no effective cure or even a treatment. That meant he couldn’t see his wife, his friends, or everyday objects. Thanks to a team at the Mayo Clinic, Zderad can once again see his wife — at least in form.
The Mayo Clinic team started a clinical trial for a new system called Second Sight, which allows Zderad to see shapes and make out human forms. He can even see his own reflection in a video.
While the results are not in high definition, the new technology has given Allen Zderad a new lease on life.
“It’s crude, but it’s significant,” Zderad said in the video. “It’ll work.”
The Mayo Clinic describes the technology as a “bionic eye implant that sends light wave signals to the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged retina. A tiny wafer-like chip was embedded in his right eye, wires attached in a surgical procedure in January, then two weeks later, the rest of the prosthetic device set in glasses was activated.”
Essentially the technology interacts with the eye rather than replacing it, making it a true bionic device.
Zderad will continue to work with the Mayo Clinic as they put him through rehabilitation and also make adjustments to his new bionic eye.