Some people are absolutely terrified of the premise of merging man with machine. Not me. I see human cyborgs as the next step in the evolution of mankind. People with poor vision put glasses on to improve their eyesight. Amputees can receive prosthetic leg to enable them to walk again. So if we can use technology to upgrade our bodies, let’s Peter Weller this shit and go all Robocop with our bodies. In seconds, a bionic eye implant changed this man’s life.
Nearly 20 years ago, Allen Zderad began to lose his vision from a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that “progressively deteriorates the part of the retina that turns light into vision.” After 10 years, the 68-year-old man from Minnesota nearly lost all of his eyesight. There is currently no effective treatment or cure for the debilitating disease.
Zderad volunteered to participate in a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic using a retinal prosthesis system called “Second Sight Argus II.”
The Mayo Clinic describes the remarkable system:
“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.”
Dr. Raymond Iezzi Jr., who performed the procedure, told KARE 11, “It’s not a replacement for the eyeball, but it works by interacting with the eye.”
For the first time in a decade, Zderad was able to see Carmen, his wife of 45 years. While it was not a crisp image, it overwhelmed the entire room with an emotional joy.
“It’s a pulsing light,” Zderad said. “It’s not like regular vision where it’s, like, constant. It’s a flash, and I’ve got to be able to interpret the changes in that shape.”
As you can see in the video (:58 mark), Zderad really only sees black and white pixels dancing in his glasses. “It’s crude, but it’s significant,” Zderad said. “It’ll work.”
This is significant because his grandson, Caleb, who is only 13-years-old, has inherited retinas pigmentosa and advancements could save his vision one day.
This is just the beginning of the treatment for Zderad because more adjustments are necessary, and hours of physical therapy lie are in store for him.
Dr. Iezzi as he and his team believe that this technology will someday be able to help those suffering from glaucoma or soldiers who have lost their eyes in combat.
“I’m glad I have the energy and stamina to put in the time and effort,” said Zderad. “I’m really excited. God has given me the strength at 68 years of age to still keep going, this is great.”