As a part of a trial at the Oxford Eye Hospital, Rhian Lewis, 49, was offered the retinal implant. Surgeons based there fitted a tiny electronic chip at the back of her right eye’s retina in a bid to restore her sight.
Lewis has suffered from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disorder since she was five years old. This inherited causes gradual deterioration of photoreceptors in the retina, which are responsible for detecting light.
Lewis is completely blind in her right eye and has virtually no vision in her left eye. The implant, made by a German firm, Retina Implant AG, was placed in Lewis’s eye in June in an operation that can last six to eight hours.
During follow-up tests, Lewis was asked to look at a large cardboard clock to see whether she could tell the time. She had not been able to tell the time with her right eye in 16 years or with her left eye for about six years.
She said “Oh my god” when she realised she had managed to recognise it was three o’clock. She added: “Honest to god, that felt like Christmas Day.”