New Sight with Bionic Eye and Glasses

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KUSA – A newly implanted bionic eye is helping a Johnstown woman see after nearly two decades. The device called Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System and is made up of a camera on sunglasses and a microchip. The bionic eye costs $144,000 and surgery is around $15,000.

“It’s a new way of seeing,” Jamie Carly said.

The sunglasses are equipped with a camera that sends the image directly in front of her to a chip installed behind her eye, which in turn sends that image to her brain. Carly is the first person in Colorado to get the so-called bionic eye. UCHealth eye surgeon Dr. Naresh Mandava said the complicated five-hour surgery was a success.

“That feeling was really exhilarating for Jamie and for us. She could see right away with the device,” he said.

Carley won’t be able to see details or even colors, but she will be able to see pixelated images in black and white. It might not look like much for someone with normal vision, but for her, it’s a game changer. The simple things many people take for granted are now possible.

“I have an iPhone and I have the screen covered, just to save on the battery. Now I take the screen off because I can have it in my hand and I can see it flashing and I can see the lights on it. Which is really cool,” Carley said.

With a little camera training and practice, doctors believe it can only get better from here. For Carley, she’ll take it day by day and is looking forward to July.

“I miss fireworks. I really miss the fireworks,” she said.

There are around 106,000 people in Colorado who have some type of visual disability. The bionic eye isn’t a cure for blindness but can help people with the disease retinitis pigmentosa.

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Important Safety Information

The Visian ICL is intended for the correction of moderate to high nearsightedness. Visian ICL and Visian TICL surgery is intended to safely and effectively correct nearsightedness between -3.0 D to -15.0 D, the reduction in nearsightedness up to -20.0 D and treatment of astigmatism from 1.0 D to 4.0 D. If you have nearsightedness within these ranges, Visian ICL surgery may improve your distance vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Because the Visian ICL corrects for distance vision, it does not eliminate the need for reading glasses, you may require them at some point, even if you have never worn them before.

Implantation of the Visian ICL is a surgical procedure, and as such, carries potentially serious risks. Please discuss the risks with your eye care professional. Complications, although rare, may include need for additional surgical procedures, inflammation, loss of cells from the back surface of the cornea, increase in eye pressure, and cataracts.

You should NOT have Visian ICL surgery if:

  • Your doctor determines that the shape of your eye is not an appropriate fit for the Visian ICL
  • You are pregnant or nursing
  • You do not meet the minimum endothelial cell density for your age at the time of implantation as determined by your eye doctor
  • Your vision is not stable as determined by your eye doctor

Before considering Visian ICL surgery you should have a complete eye examination and talk with your eye care professional about Visian ICL surgery, especially the potential benefits, risks, and complications. You should discuss the time needed for healing after surgery. For additional information with potential benefits, risks and complications please visit



1Visian ICL Patient Information Booklet

2Sanders D. Vukich JA. Comparison of implantable collamer lens (ICL) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) for Low Myopia. Cornea. 2006 Dec; 25(10):1139-46.

3Naves, J.S. Carracedo, G. Cacho-Babillo, I. Diadenosine Nucleotid Measurements as Dry-Eye Score in Patients After LASIK and ICL Surgery. Presented at American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2012.

4Shoja, MR. Besharati, MR. Dry eye after LASIK for myopia: Incidence and risk factors. European Journal of Ophthalmology. 2007; 17(1): pp. 1-6.

5Lee, Jae Bum et al. Comparison of tear secretion and tear film instability after photorefractive keratectomy and laser in situ keratomileusis. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery , Volume 26 , Issue 9 , 1326 - 1331.

6Parkhurst, G. Psolka, M. Kezirian, G. Phakic intraocular lens implantantion in United States military warfighters: A retrospective analysis of early clinical outcomes of the Visian ICL. J Refract Surg. 2011;27(7):473-481.

*American Refractive Surgery Council

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