For the past 10 years, Allen Zderad was blind. But now the 68-year-old man can see again with the help of a breakthrough "bionic eye" device.
The amazing moment was captured on video, as the Minnesota man describes what he is seeing for the first time.
"It's a pulsing light," he said. "It's not like regular vision where it's, like, constant. It's a flash, and I've got to be able to interpret the changes in that shape."
On "Happening Now" today, Jenna Lee spoke with Dr. Raymond Iezzi, an ophthalmologist and researcher at The Mayo Clinic, who performed the four hour long surgery on Zderad.
Iezzi said that Zderad suffers from a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes a person's retinas to deteriorate.
"The retinal prosthesis is a device that attempts to replace the function of the lost photo receptors or pixels and it does so by electrically stimulating the retina," he said. "The retinal prosthesis and the bionic eye are nothing short of a medical miracle. This device allows a patient who's been blind for perhaps several decades, to regain their sight through the use of a camera mounted on a pair of eye glasses. The impact of this can be tremendous."
Iezzi shared that he installed 60 electrodes into Zderad's eye and that they "were very careful in covering up all of the tissues."
"If you were to look at Mr. Zderad, you wouldn't know that he has a device implanted," Iezzi said. "His glasses are the only outside portion of the device that can be seen. It's truly a medical miracle. Fortunately in my field and here at Mayo, we're used to seeing medical miracles."
He said that this heartwarming moment is the highlight of his medical career so far.
"It's the dream of every physician to have that kind of impact on an individual and family," Zderad remarked. "I feel privileged and gifted to have been able to have the ability to participate in that for Mr. Zderad."
Watch the "Happening Now" interview above to learn more. Watch the video below to see the emotional moment when Zderad regained his vision.