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First Hawaiian woman to receive bionic eye sees again

A Japanese woman living in Honolulu, Hawaii underwent the four hour procedure of bionic eye transplant at the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii.

Regie Green , The American Register, Mar 27, 2015

She is the first woman to undergo such operation in the Asia Pacific Region.

The woman whose identity was not released is 72 years old and had been blind for two years.

According to reports, the bionic eye transplant works for people with eye problem due to hereditary disease such as retinitis pigmentosa. This condition causes vision impairment.

The surgeon who performed the operation, Dr. Gregg Kokame said the patient will now start to see motions and shades of grey.

“She’ll actually start to see motion, actually start to see somebody walk into the room and be able to see different shades of grey,’ Kokame said.

The procedure was covered by Medicare since patient is an elderly. The bionic eye transplant procedure costs $144,000. The procedure is also U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved.

The procedure involved implanting a microelectrode array to the surface of the woman’s retina that then connects wirelessly to a camera connected to a pair of glasses.

At the moment, her vision is still limited since the technology is pretty new but doctors are confident that her vision will become broader as they continuously strive to improve bionic eye technology.

It will two weeks after the surgery before the patient can use her new device, the doctors said.

The Bionic eye was developed by Dr. Mark Humayan who expressed his hopes that the device will help more people in the future.

‘We have hundreds of millions of photo receptors in our eye, hundreds of millions, and with only 60 pixels patients who were completely blind can see large objects, can tell a table from a chair or a knife from a fork or a plate so it’s very exciting to see what the brain is able to fill in,’ Humayan said.

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