Breakthrough: Australian company creates world’s first bionic eye

Feb 05, 2022
An Australian company has created a bionic eye device for those affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Source: Getty

The United States Food and Drug Association (FDA) has given “breakthrough” designation to an Australian company’s world-first bionic eye device.

Bionic Vision Technologies (BVT) is an Australian company working towards restoring vision for the blind.

The FDA’s designation of the bionic-eye will work to fast-pace analysis and evaluation of the device, which BVT claims is already achieving success.

According to, the device allegedly restores partial vision to the blind by working through a series of mini cameras embedded in a pair of glasses that then send electrical signals to an implant behind the eye.

The purpose of the device is to restore functional vision to those whose sight has been severely affected by the genetic condition Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

The company’s findings have been released in the form of a two-year study conducted on four human wearers of the device, who have given significantly positive accounts, according to the company. Wearers of the device reported recognising familiar surroundings, including people, cars, boats, street poles and traffic lights.

The creation comes as the Centre for Eye Research Australia, the Bionic Institute, CSIRO’s Data61 and the University of Melbourne all teamed up to make the development possible.

Since then, The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMCR) has taken generous steps to support further development of the device, granting the University of Melbourne a total of $1.14 million to help fund future models.

Chief executive of Bionic Vision Technologies, Dr Ash Attia, described the importance of the breakthrough device for people affected by RP. “RP is a debilitating disease and the impacts are just devastating. The life-changing bionic eye can now be brought more quickly to the people who need it the most,” Attia said.

“We are all proud to be part of BVT, and our entire team is excited by leading the world in a project to restore functional vision to those who have lost their precious sight.”

BVT will commence another in-depth study next year as the natural progression in commercialising the device.

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