Need a good start to your day? Just take a minute and watch Allen Zderad see his wife for the first time in a decade, thanks to a bionic eye.
Zderad got the bionic implant as part of a pilot program at the Mayo Clinic. Twenty years ago, Zderad began developing vision problems and discovered he had retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that affects the retina. There’s no cure, and Zderad was forced to retire as his vision slowly faded.
Doctors at the clinic have placed a small chip behind Zderad’s right eye, which essentially bypasses the retina altogether and transmits light directly to the optic nerve, with the rest of the “eye” in a pair of glasses. It’s not perfect vision; essentially Zderad will be able to make out outlines, doorways, and other shapes. If he looks at himself in a mirror, to give you an idea, he’ll see a silhouette.
But by getting this level of treatment, Zderad is more independent and better able to navigate the world. And, most importantly for him, he can see his wife again.