More than 150 guests attend the launch of animated film exploring the damage of sight loss and pioneering bionic eye technology

A new, intricately painted stop-frame animated film exploring the damage of sight loss and the use of the ground-breaking bionic eye for vision restoration, has been launched as part of Manchester Science Festival.

More than 150 visitors attended the special launch event of Ocular Bionica, at The Study, Manchester Museum, on Thursday 27th October.

Ocular Bionica, by Lime Arts artist, Lucy Burscough, tells the story of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) patient, Ray Flynn, who underwent a world-first procedure to have the Argus® II ‘bionic eye’ implanted in June 2015.

The operation to implant the 81-year old Audenshaw resident with the pioneering technology was undertaken by Paulo Stanga, Professor of Ophthalmology and Retinal Regeneration.

Lucy’s film, made in a hospital setting with support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme, is a world first, because it shows viewers the world through Ray’s eyes, both before and after the device was fitted.

Lucy hosted the evening of entertainment at The Study, which included guest talks by Professor Stanga as well as Stephen Dickson, Divisional Director of Royal Manchester Eye Hospital (MREH); Graham Newman from the Macular Society and Greg Cosendai, of Second Sight.

Other entertainment during the event included animation/vision-themed craft activities such as making flip books, zoetrope strips and eye badges; stop-frame animation with Paul Gripper Flannery from Mackinnon and Saunders; a showcase of AMD-inspired printed artworks by local artist, Sally Gilford; and a display of unique and archive items from the University of Manchester Medical Collection.

Henshaws, a charity that supports people living with sight loss and other disabilities, hosted a stand, alongside members of staff from the Manchester Vision Regeneration Lab at MREH and NIHR/Wellcome Trust Manchester Clinical Research Facility.

Visitors also had the opportunity to find out what it’s like to have AMD by trying on a specialist headset, and have a go with an app showing the interesting vision of different animals. Easels displaying still images from the Ocular Bionica film were exhibited and musical entertainment was provided by Holly Marland, Music for Health Specialist at Lime Arts.

As well as the film’s launch, Lucy has also been hosting Ocular Bionica: Hands-onica workshops for members of the public to get involved. Lucy will be hosting one more free session for people to drop-in and enjoy between 11am and 2pm on Friday 28th October at Manchester Museum.

Lucy said: “I spent a lot of time interviewing Ray about how he got involved in the clinical research trial and his experiences of taking part. I painted detailed and vivid pictures including Ray, Professor Stanga and his team, to illustrate the development of the study and how it came to change Ray’s life.

”The film was created in Lime Arts Studios, on-site at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) and I really hope that it inspires people to find out more about clinical research undertaken here at CMFT every single day.”

Professor Stanga, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon for the Manchester Vision Regeneration (MVR) Lab at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH) and NIHR/Wellcome Trust Manchester Clinical Research Facility, is the Principal Investigator on the trial to test the usefulness of the Argus II in patients with total central vision loss due to AMD.

He said: “I was delighted to be asked to attend and speak at the launch event of Lucy’s exquisite work. Ocular Bionica depicts two unique aspects of sight loss for the very first time, which greatly add to our understanding – and empathy with – a blind patient’s experience.”

The film will be available to see until Sunday 30th October, at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital Atrium from 8am to 8.15pm, and Manchester Museum between 10am and 5pm.

Further information is available on Lucy’s website, and the project’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The research study is now closed for recruitment and is currently not looking for patients to take part. However, if you are interested in taking part in research conducted by Professor Stanga, please email and/or visit: