No Longer Living in the Dark After Receiving Houston’s First Bionic Eye

Lidia Lopez knew from a young age that she had a degenerative eye disease that would cause her eyesight to deteriorate over time. By the time she was 50 years old, her vision was completely gone. At 61 years old in 2018, Lidia was living in total darkness.

However, new technology is bringing some light back into Lopez’s life.

Lopez was the recipient of Houston’s first Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, a retinal implant commonly referred to as the “bionic eye.” After implantation of the Argus II, a small camera in Lopez’s glasses captures video that is passed through a small computer that she wears. The computer and glasses work together to send a wireless signal to an antenna in the implant. This allows Lopez to perceive patterns of light, enabling her to see again for the first time in over a decade.

The device was implanted by Dr. Amir Mohsenin and Dr. Garvin Davis, both ophthalmologists affiliated with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and assistant professors of Ophthalmology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth  and the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic.

“Due to their impaired vision, these patients are very dependent on their family members or others for basic needs. A device like this can completely change a patient’s life,” said Dr. Mohsenin. “Just being able to navigate rooms and knowing if the light is on or off are big steps for patients who have been completely blind for a number of years.”

The Argus II was successfully implanted on January 11, 2018. After a month-long recovery, Lopez returned to the clinic on February 12 to have the device activated.

The instant that Lopez’s device was activated, a huge smile spread across her face. She panned her head side-to-side, trying to take it all in. According to the physicians, it’s still new to Lopez and she has to spend some time getting used to the device.

“We are the only approved center in Texas and the surrounding states to implant the Argus II,” said Dr. Davis. “It’s exciting to be able to give some someone like Mrs. Lopez a bit of her independence back. We are planning to implant about four to five of these devices each year moving forward.”

Watch how Lopez reacts when her bionic eye is activated.

 

Comments

  1. How wonderfull for Lidia Lopez and for every boddy who’s getting the same treatment. Happy times at last

  2. So Amazing!!! There is nothing like good news!! So happy to see Lidia Lopez be able to see again!! She is truly blessed!! Many Many Thanks to this team of Doctors!!! You all made History!!! Lots of Hope for those that can not see…Miracles do happen!!!

  3. God Bless Mrs Lopez! It is so amazing what can be accomplished medically! I can’t even begin to imagine what you have been through and to be able to see again. Amazing!

  4. Amazing!! I’ve been monocular for the past 44 years. (I guess there’s no chance in getting any sight back once they do an enucleation). For those still adjusting to sight issues, especially being monocular, there are websites online to help you navigate through your journey. LostEye is one of them.

  5. Breakthrough ,and great invention for blind and people who lost their vision.
    Thank s to the team For a great accomplishment.
    Dr.Mona Ali

  6. My Great-Grandmother had very poor eyesight in her later years. She ended up with books on cassette. Poor vision skipped 2 generations and 2 cousins have also very poor eyesight. It’s nice to know that this kind of technology is here.

  7. My husband its legally blind ,he can only see shades and he is getting worse as time goes by, he got major health problem but the worse for him is not being able to see.

  8. So wonderful! I told my son to check you out when he was 8 has injury to eye- the eye was stitched up but he has no vision- his Dr at the time said he was leaving it as someday someone could fix his eye- I so wish that Dr was here now to see what can be done! My son is a grown man now but sure would be a gift if he could get vision out of that eye as I worry when he drives as no vision on that side. Thank you for what you are doing for people!!

  9. This is wonderful news! How exciting to think that people will have vision thanks to great advances in technology. So grateful to all the scientists working on this!!!

  10. This is wonderful. I’m so happy for her and for anyone else who will benefit from this in the future. I lost sight in one eye a couple of years ago and I know how difficult it is adjusting to that, but I can’t imagine having no sight. This is a miracle for anyone who is blind.

  11. This is really inspiring to see. With the advances we have in technology, I have no doubt that eyesight will be fully restorable in another twenty years or so, either from devices like this or stem cell research, I believe blindness will become a thing of the past by the end of the century.

  12. As someone who was born with little use of my right eye (ambliopic) and now 62 years old , my good left eye has steadily gotten worse over the years , and to make matters even worse I now have cataracts in both eyes . So yes to say the least , any new developments that come along are very promising to those of us whose sight is diminished , and thank you for giving us HOPE !

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