Colorado woman who’s been blind for 15 years receives bionic eye

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DENVER  -- Yet another first for surgical teams in Colorado; doctors at the University of Colorado Health eye clinic have given the gift of sight to a patient who has been blind for more than 15 years.

Jamie Carley from Johnstown has been blind for nearly two decades, she suffers from Retinitis pigmentosa.

Her disease causes patients to lose their peripheral vision, some like Jamie lose all of their vision.

Following a 5 hour operation she is now able to finally see her son.

“I saw my son for the first time on Friday and it was amazing, in fact he got emotional never thought he would but he even teared up over it,” Carley said.

The Argus 2 system, sends a signal to the implant in her eye.

“The glasses that I'm wearing right now, has a small camera on the nose piece. What it sees is being transmitted to a video processor I have in my purse,” she said. “I'm very excited used to have what they call shadow vision…so I could see shadows I could see your shadow walking up to me and I used to tell everybody, this is just annoying.”

The bionic operation with Dr. Naresh Mandava's team at UC health has given Jamie the best Christmas gift of all.

“She could see right away with the device which is something we didn't anticipate we thought it would take a longer period of time for her to adapt to what she was seeing,” said Dr. Mandava.

“It gives me so much more ability. I can walk down the sidewalk follow the edge of the sidewalk. You know, when it’s against the grass,” Carley said. “I miss fireworks, I really miss fireworks and I want to see the moon I want to see the harvest moon.”

By the next one, she might just be able to look up and see the moon and stars for the first time ever.

Jamie is the first person west of the Mississippi to get a bionic eye and UC health is the first hospital to perform the procedure in the Rockies.

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