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Steve McMillin learned at age 32 he had Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that would stop his retinas from functioning. By 49, he was completely blind.
He kept up to date on new research emerging and heard about the bionic retina, a retinal prosthesis device that sends electrical impulses to the remaining retinal cells and restores limited vision patterns.
“They take the lens off the top of your eye, remove the vitrious fluid and install a six-by-ten grid of electrodes in your eye,” said McMillin.
Last June, Steve became the twentieth patient in the US to receive the device when he had his surgery at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute
He can see vague, black and white images.
“So you can tell, well, there’s the road, there’s a driveway, there’s a mailbox, there’s a shrub. Am I veering off track? It’s another tool in the toolbox and, boy, it’s a big tool,” McMillin says.
When asked what the most important thing he saw after ten years of blindness was, he replied, “To go out in the moonlight and see your wife’s face.”
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