08:14 PM, November 11, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:21 PM, November 11, 2016

British-Bangladeshi scientist successfully implants ‘bionic eye’

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British-Bangladeshi Dr Mahi Muqit has successfully implanted a “bionic eye” that has given a blind man some of his sight.

Muqit is first in the UK to successfully insert the Iris II system last month and help the patient, 73, benefit from a European trial of the pioneering system at Moorfields Eye Hospital, reports London-based Evening Standard on Monday.

The patient has retinitis pigmentosa, the most common cause of inherited blindness -- affecting 1.5 million people worldwide. He was blind for more than 20 years and was unable to see anything.

A consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields, Muqit said the patient could now see a difference between light and dark would learn to interpret light signals.

“If we can get him appreciating outlines and movement around him, it will help with his mobility and will be a huge step forward for him.  We switched on the device last week,” he told the British newspaper.

He said: “I think he is tempering his emotions, but he is very pleased and I think he is very happy to see something.”

Two further patients are due to undergo the procedure at Moorfields, adds the daily.

Patients with retinitis pigmentosa often have their eyesight deteriorate in their teenage years and typically suffer total loss of vision in their forties.

The Iris II system, made by French firm Pixium, is being trialled in a handful of specialist eye hospitals across Europe. Four patients have been implanted with the device so far.

The system comprises an epi-retinal implant and a “bio-inspired” camera.

Talking to Optometry Today, Dr Muqit explained that the camera, which sent signals wirelessly to the implant, adjusted itself to collect the most useful visual information, for example capturing motion while outdoors and providing more specific details of objects while indoors.

Khalid Ishaque, chief executive of Pixium, told Evening Standard that the first implant in UK at the prestigious Moorfields Eye Hospital is part of the company’s strategy to continue to expand its presence across centres of excellence in Europe.

“Pixium Vision is dedicated to conceive, develop and bring meaningful bionic vision innovations to surgeons,” he added.

It is hoped that the technology could help patients who suffer age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in the world. It causes the loss of central vision.

Earlier, his brother Dr Miratul Mohamid Khan Muqit was also named as one of this year's awardees of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organisation Young Investigator Programme (EMBO YIP). His research has made several important breakthroughs in the genetical mutation responsible for Parkinson's disease.

Their father Abdul Muqit, a general practitioner, and his mother Mamataz Begum, a psychiatrist, are now living in Dhaka.

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