London, Apr 21 : A group of American scientists have given a visually impaired grandmother, a chance to see her grandchildren dance and play football with a 'bionic eye'.
Linda Moorfoot, who suffers from the eye condition retinitis pigmentosa that causes blindness, is thrilled after having part of her sight restored by a bionic eye.
Scientists have unveiled their latest invention, a tiny camera that they hope to actually insert into the eye within the next five years.
The new technology tested by Mrs Moorfoot uses an external camera worn on a pair of dark glasses that sends images to a radio receiver implanted near the eye that transmits a signal on to a tiny silicon and platinum chip that sits on the retina. This information then goes down the optic nerve into the brain.
"When I go to the grandkids' hockey game or soccer game I can see which direction the game is moving in," Scotsman quoted Moorfoot as saying.
"I can shoot baskets with my grandson. And I can see my granddaughter dancing across the stage. It's wonderful," she added.
The team led by Dr Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at the Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles, California have now developed a small and powerful camera that could be implanted inside the patient's eye, rather than worn on a pair of glasses.
"The camera is very, very small and very low power, so it can go inside your eye and couple your eye movement to where the camera is," said Dr Humayun.
"With this kind of missing information the brain can fill in. This field is really blossoming.
"So in the next four to five years I hope, and we all hope, that we will see technology that's much more advanced," he added.
"There are around two million people in the UK with sight loss. We would welcome any developments that could prevent sight loss and restore sight," said Christina Nicolaidou, spokeswoman for the RNIB
"This research could be exciting and we will be following it over the next few years to see how it develops," she added.