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150th anniversary lecture series opens with new vision

March 18, 2013

150th anniversary lecture series opens with new vision Dr Penny Allen presents at Federation Square
Lead surgeon on Australia’s first pre-bionic eye implant, Dr Penny Allen presented on the challenges of developing and delivering the first bionic eye prototype this month.

A Bionic Vision for the Future, held at Federation Square's Edge theatre on 12 March was aimed at demystifying the device, with Dr Allen exploring what this advancing technology means not just for the medical community but for people with very low vision around the world.

“Just as the bionic ear changed the life of hearing impaired and deaf individuals around the world, this device has been an equally significant breakthrough for the visually impaired. In many ways the success of the Cochlear implant has helped progress our research here, Dr Allen said.

Chairman of Bionic Vision Australia, Professor Emeritus David Penington AC said: “The Eye and Ear is a crucial partner in the bionic eye project, demonstrating remarkable leadership in surgical development for the technology. We look forward to continuing our collaboration together with the Eye and Ear toward patient tests of our full implants.

The bionic eye prototype with 24 electrodes, developed by Bionic Vision Australia, was implanted in three patients at the Eye and Ear last year.

Dr Allen’s lecture, held in conjunction with event partners Federation Square, was the first in the 150th anniversary public lecture series, acknowledging the Eye and Ear’s long history as a teaching hospital.

Professor Jonathan Crowston will host the second lecture in the series, on behalf of the Centre for Eye Research (CERA) and Melbourne University in June. Email rsvp@eyeandear.org.au to register your interest.