Microchip helps HK woman regain partial eyesight

The operation was the first of its kind outside Europe.

Surgeons from the University of Hong Kong have performed a ground-breaking operation that has helped a blind woman see again, albeit partially.

Mrs Tsang Wu Suet Yun, 57, had been blind for the last 15 years.

She told the South China Morning Post (SCMP): “From zero-sight ability to being able to see again, the feeling is absolutely amazing.”

The surgeons implanted a microchip into her right retina in a nine-hour operation.

The insertion of the 3mm-by-3mm chip allows blind patients with functioning nerve cells in their eyes to regain partial eyesight.

The report says the technique could help roughly 80 per cent of blind people, including those suffering retinitis pigmentosa, a group of genetic eye diseases leading to permanent blindness.

Mrs Tsang and three of her six siblings are among the 2,000 people in Hong Kong who have this condition.

There was no treatment for it till now. Mrs Tsang, a masseuse, started losing her sight at around the age of40.

Her husband, Mr Tsang King Wai, told SCMP: “She had completely lost the ability to see, so the operation gave us a glimpse ofhope.

“Our family thinks it’s a miracle. We just want to thank our father in heaven.”

Mrs Tsang remains blind in her left eye, but is at least now able to find and identify objects placed on a table in front of her, reported Hong Kong’s Standard.

She can also independently walk toward her husband.

Mrs Tsang says: “It is still hard to identify details of his face, but it makes me happy enough that, from total blindness, I can now see my husband in shades of grey.”

It is hoped that the technology which helped her will be commercially available next year at a price of 100,000 euros (S$163,000), including surgery.

This article was first published in The New Paper .