Blind man gets bionic eye, plans to travel

18th Feb 2015
Written by: Ben Roberts

Man plans to see the world after a decade of near total blindness

What’s the first thing you would do if you regained your sight after a decade of complete blindness? For Allen Zderad, a 68 year old American man who has just been fitted with a bionic eye, it was to hug his wife.

Next, he plans to travel.

Zderad has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that caused his sight to slowly deteriorate to nearly nothing over the course of his life. It forced him to walk with a cane.

The bionic eye, more accurately known as a retinal prosthesis implant, took over 25 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. In many ways it’s the next step in wearable technology that could revolutionise travel and help thousands of people to see the world.

It had been a decade since Zderad had seen his wife. “Ten years, but I still kiss her with my eyes closed,” he laughed when the bionic eye was first activated.

It doesn’t provide perfect vision; a wearable computer pack sends information to electrodes implanted in his retina, replacing his damaged retinal cells and sending signals straight to the optic nerve. The result is pixellated black and white vision.

“It’s crude, but it’s significant,” said Zderad. “It works.”

Zderad is the 101st person in the world to receive the implant, and to an extent he will act as a guinea pig to test its application for people with other eye conditions. It’s a role he plans to embrace by pushing his limits, first by seeing a movie and spending time with his family, and then by travelling and experiencing the world.

We think that’s a fantastic idea.

Search

Adventure Guide Internship

from £5000

90 days

New Zealand

Enjoy a 3 month activity-based tour, gain globally recognised guiding qualifications and land an adventure tourism job based in Queenstown,...

In-Class TEFL Course in Malaga

from £1475

20 days

Spain

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Malaga and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

Northern Wanderer – North Island

from £905

8 days

New Zealand

If you’re coming to the North Island and have limited time, read on! The Northern Wanderer tour is a jam...

Ultimate New Zealand Gap Year

from £510

8 days

New Zealand

Our Ultimate NZ working holiday package will blow your mind! Experience a week of fun with people from all over...

Fiji Beach Conservation

from £699

7 - 140 days

Fiji

On this project in the stunning setting of Beqa Island, Fiji, you will be snorkelling to locate and map the...

PR & Marketing in Hong Kong

from £3600

42 - 180 days

Hong Kong

Boost your career prospects by interning in the booming, international city of Hong Kong. Gain a head start in the...

Environmental Internship in Sodwana Bay Marine National Park

from £900

14 - 84 days

South Africa

If you’re passionate about ecology, underwater photography, marine conservation, surveying and diving - or if you’ve always to learn -...

Waste Plastic Voyages and Solutions Fiji

from £951

7 - 180 days

Fiji

Sailing in Fiji working alongside our Fast Track Fiji program. Delivering education on outer islands, community outreach and data collection.

Costa Rica Sloth & Animal Rescue

from £599

14 - 56 days

Costa Rica

Work at a centre dedicated to the care and conservation of some of Costa Rica's most threatened species including sloths,...

In-Class TEFL Course in Corinth

from £1075

20 days

Greece

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Corinth and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

Search

Aegean Sunseeker

from £1099

Roll into Greece for endless sun, sand and paradise vibes. Navigate the azure waters, make plenty of swim stops, then...

Quito to La Paz Adventure

from £2447

Really discover what South America is all about on this epic five-week journey through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. This adventure...

Winter Britain & Ireland

from £1939

Channel your inner explorer as you discover ancient castles and ruined fortresses (sans the summer crowds) and experience Britain and...

Johannesburg to Kenya

from £3595

Marvel at the crashing white water of Victoria Falls, the unique, sprawling Okavango Delta and the tranquillity of the natural...

Amazing Central America

from £1623

Get ready for a fast-paced adventure through the best of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. From...

Classic Costa Rica

from £1020

Every year thousands of tourists travel to Costa Rica but few get to experience this charismatic country's real way of...

Canadian Rockies

from £1485

O Canada! Thank this glorious land for maple syrup, peanut butter and Jim Carrey on this spectacular sojourn through the...

Iconic Southern Africa

As the sun rises over Kruger National Park – and an elephant and her young calf wander past you –...

Paris to Marrakech

from £3915

Tour France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco on an incredible adventure from Paris to Marrakech. Travel from romantic Paris, over the...

Desert Tracker 25 Day

from £460

Ain’t nothing like the scenic route. Hit the dusty trail on this once-in-a-lifetime expedition from Cape Town to Johannesburg –...

Search
[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]