Bionic eye procedures have not been around very long, and only recently did the FDA decide to give them the go-ahead in the United States.
Even so, finding a surgeon actually capable of performing it is a chore in itself, but one that blind man John Jameson's wife was up for.
Her husband lost his sight more than 40 years ago, so the couple was willing to try anything, and that led them to the offices of a Shreveport, Louisiana-based physician, who performed the procedure.
The results were astounding, Jameson told his home state's Texas Standard.
"When you're a kid, you'd wake up for Christmas morning, and you'd walk down and see the tree lights and the gifts and everything -- the joy you get when that happens. And now that's been happening to me for every day, because every day I wake up I can see more and more," Jameson said. "When I wake up in the morning, I love to see nature waking up. It's like a miracle."
Jameson acknowledged that the bionic eye procedure was not without its setbacks. He specifically said that he was having some instances of double vision, but that his once-nothing vision is getting clearer every day.
When asked to describe how he found out about the procedure, Jameson said that his wife had been following it and alerted him to it.
"It's been in development for several years, and it now has FDA approval," he added. "There have been only a limited number in the United States. Dr. (Christopher) Shelby is the one who did the implant -- he was chosen out of many many candidates to set up this team that's doing this."
Since news of the bionic eye procedure broke, the story has been picked up by popular national websites like BGR and on Wednesday (May 18) made the first page of Reddit.
Blind Tatum man gets bionic eye that restores his sight#watchcbs19https://t.co/L6kd5ilyDT pic.twitter.com/h5HK0f8yRsUnlike what some of the commenters on Reddit complained about -- one being how you "always hear about things like this, and then never hear about it again" -- the bionic eye procedure has surfaced as recently as 2015.
— KYTX CBS19 (@kytxcbs19) May 14, 2016
In the first few months of last year, the Inquisitr reported on four individual cases where a bionic eye allowed people to see again after a long time suffering with blindness.
One of those people was an unnamed 72-year-old woman from Hawaii who received her bionic eye transplant in a four-hour procedure.
Dr. Mark Humayan, the inventor of the bionic eye, said his creation was "specifically designed for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa," the Inquisitr reported in March 2015.
Humayan said at the time that he was "hoping to soon develop models that can work for other vision issues" and acknowledged that development took around 25 years. His particular bionic eye allows patients to see up to nine colors in a "two-part system."
First, there is the implant that is placed in the eye. Second, there is a special set of glasses that capture images and beam them back to the implant for brain processing.
The glasses work as a sort of camera, and the implant processes the information provided by the camera in a way the brain understands.
As for Jameson, it was not clear in the Texas Standard report which specific type of eye issue he suffered from, nor was it apparent if he benefited from Humayan's work.
While more variations and technological developments are likely to build on the procedure, none of that matters to the patients who are awaking from darkness for the first time in decades -- only that the procedures and materials work.Do you think that this bionic eye business means that science is on the way to curing blindness once and for all? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons/PhotonQ]