A 72-year-old Japanese-American woman in Hawaii went blind two years ago due to an incurable hereditary disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Surgeons at the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii implanted a bionic eye into the woman.
Dr. Gregg Kokame, who performed the operation, explained that he “implanted a microelectrode array on the surface of her retina that connects wirelessly to a pair of glasses with a camera. The glasses process images and transmit them to the implant, which then sends that information to the woman’s optic nerve and onto her brain.” The device costs $144,000. For this patient it was covered by Medicare.