Blind Mother's Tears as Bionic Eye Gives First Glimpse of Son in 20 Years

A mother in Colorado was recently given the gift of sight with the help of new technology that allowed her to see her son for the first time in years.

Jamie Carley of the Denver area suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disease that causes cells in the retina to slowly die. She lost her sight completely by the age of 26.

But, thanks to Dr. Naresh Mandava and the UCHealth Eye Center, that changed this week after the cutting edge "bionic eye" that was implanted in November was turned on for the first time.

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Carley was able to see, albeit in a way far less distinct than normal sight, her son for the first time since he was a child.

"The first thing I focused on was the window, and I followed the outline around to the left, and then I got to see my son for the first time in years," Carley told ABC News. "It was pretty amazing. Hiding behind the glasses, I got a little teary-eyed. It was just so emotional."

Carley's 29-year-old son teared up a little, too, thanks to the touching moment made possible by the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System.

The implant allows patients who are blind from retinitis pigmentosa can regain small amounts of their vision. A pair of glasses with a camera wirelessly transmits video to the microchip implanted in the patient’s eye.

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“The microchip that was implanted on Jamie’s retina is a 10x6 array of electrodes.  That’s 60 pixels of vision,” said Dr. Scott Oliver said in a hospital release. “Most of us are used to millions of pixels on our cell phone, in multiple colors." 

Carley, however, will have only the basics of vision. But even that is a miracle, she said.

“Regaining even a little bit of my vision will make a huge difference in my life. Being able to see the edges of doorways, stairs and sidewalks will make my life much easier, and I’m really looking forward to seeing family members and fireworks again.”

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