More than two decades ago, doctors could do nothing for Walfre Lopez as his vision faded away due to a degenerative eye disease. Now, a revolutionary artificial-vision procedure done at University of Florida Health has given Lopez a new window to the world.
Early this year, Lopez got what he calls a “bionic eye” — a microelectrode array implanted in the retina. The electrode takes over the function of damaged retinal cells, sending signals to a special pair of glasses that allows Lopez to see shapes and contrasting images. Lopez is the first patient to receive the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System at UF Health, one of 18 implant sites in the United States. Gibran Khurshid, M.D., is the first retina surgeon at UF Health to have expertise in this area.
Lopez, 46, was in his early 20s when he lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that destroys light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye. It affects about one in 4,000 people in the United States and worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute.
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