A blind woman in Denver, Colorado, has recently been given the gift of sight and been able to see her son for the first time since he was a child.
Jamie Carley, who saw her son using a bionic eye, is a sufferer of Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited eye diseases that cause the retina to degenerate as photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones, die out.
Forms of RP and related diseases include Usher syndrome, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, rod-cone disease, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and Refsum disease.
Carley lost her sight completely at age 26, over two decades ago, and so this moment was one she had been waiting for, for a long time.
It was a time to savor.
“The first thing I focused on was the window,” Carley said in a report on abcnews, “and I followed the outline around to the left, and then I got to see my son for the first time in years. It was pretty amazing. Hiding behind the glasses, I got a little teary-eyed. It was just so emotional.”
How does it work? Carley’s amazing new implant is described by Wikipedia as “an experimental visual device intended to restore functional vision in those suffering from partial or total blindness.”
According to bionicvision.org, the implant, or ‘bionic eye’ works by transmitting high-frequency radio signals to a microchip implanted in the eye.
Electrodes on the implanted chip convert the signals into electrical impulses that stimulate cells in the retina connected to the optic nerve.
A camera, which is attached to a pair of glasses, transmits images in the environment to the user so that they can see.
Carley said that being able to see simple things now “amazes her.”
Over the coming months, her brain will learn how to interpret the new optical signals it is receiving, allowing Carley’s new sight to steadily improve, doctors say.