Friday, February 27, 2015

It's a medical miracle and a romance story all wrapped up in one. With a degenerative eye disease that slowly stole his sight over a twenty year period, Allen Zderad didn't think he would see his wife or his grandchildren ever again. Allen has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease affecting the retina, which has no effective treatment or cure. The Twin Cities-based man had to to end his professional career and, after a decade, the 68-year-old was effectively blind, unable to see anything other than very bright light. It had been ten years since he'd seen his wife Carmen's face and the grandfather of ten only remembers the faces of his oldest grandchildren, he'd never seen the younger ones. Thanks to a technological breakthrough, which came in the form of a bionic eye, Allen was given a brand new lease on life.
Dr Raymond Iezzi Jr , a researcher and ophthalmologist from the Mayo Clinic had been consulting with Allen's grandson who was in the early stages of the same disease. “Tell your grandfather I’d like to see him,” the doctor told him. It turned out that Allen was the ideal patient for the first clinical trial of the bionic eye in Minnesota. The bionic eye or the "second Sight Argus II" retinal prosthesis system has been in development for a quarter of century. Allen was only the 15th person in the United States to ever receive it.
The first indication that the device worked came in the form of an emotional moment, when Allen lunged to hug his wife. He grabbed her arms as they both burst into tears.
USA Today captured a heartwarming video that shows Allen's story. You can also watch the exciting moment Allen sees his wife again on the YouTube video, below.
Though Allen may not be able to make out the details of faces or images, he'll now be able to navigate through a room full of people. As to finding his wife? It’s easy,” says Allen, “she’s the most beautiful one in the room.”

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