It’s only a matter of time before technology is able to restore vision to those who are completely blind. But some improvement is coming sooner than you think, thanks to Bionic Vision Technologies. During a trial, four Australian patients who had suffered significant vision loss due to degenerative Retinitis Pigmentosa saw notable improvement.

Prior to the trial, the four participants could sense light and dark, but they were unable to even detect a hand moving in front of them. Researchers implanted bionic eyes and the patients could detect objects around them in grayscale, which meant they could navigate without the use of guide dogs or a walking stick.

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In order to see, a part of the brain known as the visual cortex must receive and process signals from the optic nerve. If this part of the brain is missing, a person is unable to see. Or so scientists have believed until recently.

A seven-year-old boy in Australia has baffled scientists by showing signs of minimal eyesight. The boy, who has a rare metabolic disorder that has left him without a visual cortex, can see well enough to play certain games and recognize people. Fascinated with his case, the researchers have studied the boy and reported their findings to the Australasian Neuroscience Society. According to the research team, the boy seems to have no difficulty navigating around. Looking at him, someone would assume he has no problem with his eyesight.

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Over the years, Brian Madeux has had 26 surgeries to minimize symptoms of Hunter Syndrome, a serious genetic disorder with a general life expectancy of 15 years or less. But with no known cure available, the 44-year-old has been forced to live with the disease, which gradually damages various areas of the body, including thickening the walls of the heart.

In early November, Madeux was part of a revolutionary experiment in genetic therapy. For the first time, a gene will be inserted into the human body with the express purpose of altering a person’s DNA. The procedure is not guaranteed to work. In fact, the gene must be installed in a very specific part of the body to be effective. If misplaced, the change will be permanent and unfortunately, doctors likely won’t know for a few months whether the gene-editing procedure was successful.

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