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British man implanted with bionic eye (VIDEO)

Chris James becomes one of the first to be implanted with bionic eye
BioniceyeEnlarge
British man fitted with microchip to help regain sight. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Chris James has regained the gift of sight thanks to his new bionic eye. 

The British man, who suffers from a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa, became one of the first people to be implanted with the bionic eye.

James was fitted with a tiny chip that measures 3mm and holds 1,500 light-sensitive pixels in between the layers of his eye. 

James told BBC, "There was a ‘magic moment’ when the implant was switched on for the first time and I saw flashing lights.”

James must now learn how to interpret the images. "I am able to make out a curve or a straight line close-up but I find things at distance more difficult," James told BBC, "It is still early days as I have to learn to interpret the signals being sent to my brain from the chip."

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Professor MacLaren, who fitted the first implant in the UK, told BBC News, "It's the first time that British patients who were completely blind have been able to see something. In previous studies of restorative vision involving stem cells and other treatments, patients always had some residual sight. Here the patients had no light perception at all but the implant reactivated their retina after more than a decade."

CBS News followed James for his surgery, and recovery. 

According to the Huffington PostRetina Implant AG, a medical technology company in Germany, designed the chips that both British men received. The company and surgeons are currently implanting and testing the chip in 12 patients as part of their clinical trials. 

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