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Miracle medical moment as legally blind man sees with bionic eye

John Jameson saw the world through normal eyes until a histoplasmosis fungal infection caused his vision to blur. A follow-up laser surgery to reverse the fungal infection damaged his vision even further, leaving him legally blind. After 40 years of limited vision, however, Jameson now can see again thanks to a breakthrough eye telescope and fine surgical work by Dr. Christopher Shelby of the WK Eye Institute.

Developed by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz of VisionCare, the Implantable Miniature Telescope was designed for those suffering from age related macular degeneration, a common and debilitating eye disease that results when the retina begins to deteriorate. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., affecting more than 10 million Americans. Though Jameson didn’t suffer from that condition, the fungal damage to his eye was similar, making him an ideal candidate for the eye surgery.

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The operation involved the implantation into the eye of a miniature Galilean telescope containing wide-angle micro-optical lenses. The mini telescope is implanted into one eyeball, replacing the lens, which is removed during the surgery. Working along with the cornea, the telescope can enlarge images to approximately 2.2 to 2.7 times their average size. This magnification allows the images to project onto the healthy parts of the retina, bypassing the damaged blind spot and restoring some of the patient’s vision.

Jameson successfully underwent the implant surgery and is currently undergoing therapy to adjust to his newly improved eyesight. With his vision restored, Jameson now can see things he could only picture in his mind — including his wife, whom he has now seen for the first time. “Every day I wake up and I can see more,” Jameson said to Louisiana’s KSLA News 12. “The world is much prettier than I even imagined. I’ve imagined what [she] looked like and to see actually how beautiful she was.”