G’day reddit! We are: Dianne Ashworth, Australia’s first bionic eye recipient; and members of the Bionic Vision Australia team which developed the device. Ask us (almost) anything.
Today the first of our patients, Dr Dianne Ashworth (/u/diashworth), is here to answer your questions. You can find out more about her here (or just do an internet search for her name):
Joining Dianne are researchers from Bionic Vision Australia. Each of these respondents represents a specific team within the wider project, but all have experience with multiple aspects of the project:
- /u/xeiss Dr David Nayagam (Bionics Institute; BI | Device Development & Preclinical Team)
- /u/JYeoh Dr Jonathan Yeoh (Centre for Eye Research Australia; CERA | Surgical Team)
- /u/DrLauren Dr Lauren Ayton (Centre for Eye Research Australia; CERA | Clinical Team)
- /u/n_c_s Mr Nicholas Sinclair (Bionics Institute; BI | Psychophysics Team)
- /u/DrChrisMc Dr Chris McCarthy (National ICT Australia; NICTA | Vision Processing Team)
- /u/T-LB Ms Tamara Brawn (Bionic Vision Australia; BVA | Management Team)
We will be responding from our individual accounts so that we can get through questions more efficiently. Note that Dianne is a proficient internet user and she will be typing for herself.
Please ask Dianne questions about her experiences using her prototype bionic eye device. If you have technical/scientific/clinical questions then we’ll do our best to answer them. We’d like you to come away from this with a clear understanding of how a bionic eye works! There may be certain things that we can’t discuss (e.g. unpublished data, patents, commercial aspects, and some aspects of the studies which are subject to privacy and ethical confidentiality).
TL;DR: Dianne Ashworth has progressively lost her vision over the past 30 years. She is the first person in the world to receive this kind of prototype bionic eye – a suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis. She is here with members of the research team from Bionic Vision Australia who developed her device. Together we’ll try to answer your questions about her experiences and the science behind bionic eyes!
*Edit - Jonathan has had to leave, but the rest of us will keep answering your questions.
*Edit2 - Thank you reddit for your fantastic questions. It's been fun and hopefully you've learned something about bionic eyes. We're heading back to the lab now!