ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA — Not TV’s former astronaut Steve Austin this time. The latest bionic man is a real life, grandfather of 10 forced to leave his career as a chemist 20 years ago when a degenerative eye disease threatened his sight. But life’s changing for Allen Zderad after doctors at the Mayo Clinic implanted 60 electrodes in his eye, sending signals directly to his optic nerve and allowing the 68-year-old Minnesota man to see his wife, Carmen, for the first time in a decade.
Zderad tested the implant this week; he cannot yet make out people’s faces, but he can see shapes — and that’s all it took for him to find his wife. “It’s easy,” Zderad told the Mayo Clinic. “She’s the most beautiful one in the room.”