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One of the lens recipients is examined by a specialist. The new type of artificial lenses endow patients with "super-vision", better than the best standard adult human vision.  (Source: Sky News)
The era of cybernetic superpeople appears to be finally taking off

From the popular PC game Deus Ex to movies like Robocop, a consistent theme in science fiction has been cyborgs, humans implanted with advanced technology to offer them superior abilities to traditional humans.  Such inventions haven't exactly taken off -- RFID implants are about as "cyborgish" as people have become of late.  However, a new medical procedure should re-excite those who dream of synthetic super-capabilities.

Doctors and medical researchers at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, a medical facility near Sussex in the UK, have completed the most advanced artificial lens implant to date and have endowed patients with vision better than the most able humans traditionally have.

The process to get "high definition" vision begins with the implantation of an artificial lens, using the standard procedure for cataracts.  Where as some lens implants are made of plastics PMMA or acrylic, the high tech lenses use special light-sensitive silicone.

Several days after the implant, doctors zap the lens with UV light, fine tuning it.  Over days, the lens is carefully tuned to overcome defects in the eye until patients have perfect vision.  A final blast of light fixes the lens in a final configuration.

The typical net result is that the recipients' vision significantly surpasses 20/20 sight, the best vision typically found in adults. 

Dr. Bobby Qureshi is the first ophthalmic surgeon in the UK to use the new lens and calls it "a hugely significant development".  Its not being used to give supervision to the masses quite yet, but rather is targeting patients with cataracts and long-sightedness, typically age-related conditions. 

Describes Dr. Qureshi, "We have the potential here to change patients' vision to how it was when they were young.  The change is so accurate that we can even make the lens bifocal or varifocal, so as well as giving them good vision at distance we can give them good vision for reading.  They won't need their glasses at all."

The patients are amazed at the results.  Gill Balfour, one of the first patients to receive the lens recalls how she used to have cataracts and other vision problems.  Now the world is a richer place for her.  She comments, "It's absolutely incredible. To think it's been tailor-made for you, matching any imperfections. It's the way forward, isn't it?"

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New lenses
By TerryS on 12/5/2009 3:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
In my youth I had better than 20/20 vision which deteriorated with age (I'm now 60).

As a result of various radiation exposures to my eyes, both UV and ionizing (work related), I was at risk for cataracts and it did come to pass. By the fall of 2009 I was nearly blind - I couldn't even read a book unless the type was huge or I used a magnifying glass - and even then it was badly blurred. Other activities were similarly severely limited.

In September and October I had cataract surgery. The lens implants are of a type that can accommodate (focus) for distance and are made using one of these new silicone materials. Focusing is accomplished by two small "haptics" - arms that attach to the ciliary muscles that used to focus the natural lens. They also include UV protection and a type of filtration that really makes colors "pop".

Result: I can now see as good as when I was in my late 20's and only need glasses for extreme close up work outside the range of the implants ability to focus, basically within a few inches of my eyes. Night vision? Extreme. Couldn't believe it. Seeing my 11 year old son's face clearly for the first time in 2-3 years brought tears to my newly "bionic" eyes.

Anyone who has cataracts, or any of the other conditions newer ocular implants can help, seriously needs to check them out. They won't regret it.

They're not cheap and insurance usually only covers half, but how do you place a price on your vision?

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