Imagine not being able to see your loved ones. What measures would you take to see them again?
68-year-old Allen Zderad was faced with this very question.
The Minnesota man started losing his vision 20 years ago due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease. In the past 10 years, NBC reports the retired chemist has been almost completely blind, unable to see his wife and 10 grandchildren.
So when researcher and ophthalmologist Raymond Iezzi Jr., M.D. offered a solution, Zderad jumped at the opportunity.
The solution was some new, innovative technology — A bionic eye implant that "sends light wave signals to the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged retina," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Zderad made news when he became the first human to undergo a clinical trial in Minnesota.
When the device was turned on, Zderad could see his wife. Something he had not been able to do in years and years.
In January, Zderad underwent a surgery to get a little chip embedded in his right eye. The team activated the implant two weeks later.
His utter joy at being able to see his loved ones again is contagious.
In the video above, Zderad tries to figure out just how his new "eyes" work.
You can hear the excitement in his voice, as he says, "Yes, it's gonna take interpretation of the shape, of the light that's flashing... because it's a pulsing light, it's not like regular vision where it's like constant, it's the flash, and I gotta be able to interpret the changes in the shape."
Then, laughter and tears follow.
According to Second Site, the company responsible for creating the bionic device, the technology works by using a mini video camera. A patient-worn computer sends signals between the glasses and the brain, and patients can then learn to interpret these visual patterns.
Zderad is only the 15th person in the United States to receive the glasses.
Pretty cool stuff, huh?
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