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First bionic eye surgery successfully completed in Russia

July 21, 13:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The patient’s retinal implant is a high-technology system consisting of spectacles with a miniature camera, a video signal procession unit and an electric stimulator

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. The first Russian patient has successfully undergone a bionic eye surgery and is now staying in a rehabilitation center of the Federal Biomedical Agency (FBA), Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova told reporters on Friday.

Grigory Ulyanov, aged 58, from Chelyabinsk, who lost sight about 20 years ago, underwent surgery in the FBA Otorhinolaryngology Clinical Research Center on June 30. Now, according to the minister, he already can distinguish light sources and primitive images of objects. Other patients in the world achieve such results after two or three months of rehabilitation.

"This device allows the eye to see information not the way we are used to see it. This is a black-and-white geometric vision. We see a door as a black construction," the minister said.

The patient’s retinal implant is a high-technology system consisting of spectacles with a miniature camera, a video signal procession unit and an electric stimulator - a retinal implant with 60 electrodes. "Our approaches allow to insert a rather primitive device on the retina’s surface. Whereas the world is diversified," the minister said.

Ulyanov became the 41st patient in the world who has such a system. About 300 patients more have a simpler bionic system that allows to make a picture of 30 pixels.

According to Skvortsova, development of bionic technology, along with regenerative medicine and tissue and cellular technologies is one Russia’s most advanced health directions. "A mechanism for quick implementation of most innovative technologies has been created. This mechanism is fully paid by our state - this is called a clinical testing," she added.

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