'Bionic eye' therapy successfully restores sight to pensioner

Ray Flynn, 80, has successfully had his vision restored via bionic eye therapy Credit: PA

A partially sighted pensioner has had his central vision restored after receiving a "bionic eye".

Ray Flynn, 80, a retired engineer from Audenshaw, Manchester is the first patient in the world with advanced dry aged relate macular degeneration (AMD) to undergo the procedure.

He is thought to be the first person to have the combined use of natural and artificial sight.

Mr Flynn had an Argus II retinal implant last month at the Manchester Royal Eye hospital, after experiencing eight years of deterioration to his central vision.

The "bionic eye" works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient's glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted to electrodes on the surface of the retina.

These pulses then stimulate the retina's remaining cells resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain.

Following the successful four-hour operation, tests showed that Mr Flynn could make out the outline of people and objects even with his eyes closed.

Mr Flynn is taking things slowly as he gets used to the system but most looks forward to watching his beloved Manchester United on television again.

He said: "Before when I was looking at a plant in the garden it was like a honeycomb in the centre of my eye. That has now disappeared. I can now walk round the garden and see things."

Ray Flynn is the first AMD sufferer to undergo the procedure Credit: PA

Professor Paulo Stanga, consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital described Mr Flynn's progress is "truly remarkable".

"As far as I am concerned, the first results of the trial are a total success and I look forward to treating more dry AMD patients with the Argus II as part of this trial," he said.

"This technology is revolutionary and changes patients' lives - restoring some functional vision and helping them to live more independently."

AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world with between 20-25 millions sufferers globally.