This medical video focuses on the revolutionary new device that could give a kind of sight to blind people.
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Jennifer Mathews: Connie Schoeman has felt her way through most of her life. Connie Schoeman: I was about 28 when I first became aware that I had an eye problem. Jennifer Mathews: A doctor diagnosed retinitis pigmentosa, a blinding eye disease. Connie Schoeman: But he said, it may not get worse, but it might, and it certainly did. Jennifer Mathews: Today, Connie is completely blind. Connie Schoeman: I have no idea what I look like, because I don't remember what I look like. Jennifer Mathews: Now, at 76, she's in a groundbreaking study with Dr. Mark Humayun. Mark Humayun: My hopes are that we can help patients who are otherwise blind, and if we can help them in the span of the next five to seven years to really get this high-resolution imagery, that would be wonderful. Jennifer Mathews: He says this implant, an electronic retinal prosthesis could restore sight. It stimulates remaining healthy retinal cells to detect light. Mark Humayun: The kind of light you see is akin to looking at a scoreboard. In fact, what we're trying to do is pack more lights and so a denser pattern, so you can recognize finer features. Jennifer Mathews: In early research, patients can describe the motion of objects and can tell when lights are turned On or Off. Dr. Humayun says future research will use more electrodes to detect even more light. Connie Schoeman: It's really exciting. I feel sort of like Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. Who knows how far this is going to go in the future? Jennifer Mathews: This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.