In August we brought you the tragic story of an assault in China on a boy named Guo Bin, nicknamed “Binbin,” who was found unconscious, with his eyes gouged out by a stranger and would never see again. Now a Hong Kong vision specialist has offered him electronic eyes that could eventually partially restore his vision, all this at no cost to the family.
Binbin was lured away from his home on August 24, 20103, as he played outside before dinner. He was later found unconscious in a field by his worried family, blood everywhere, his eyelids swollen shot and his gouged-out eyes on the ground nearby. The corneas were intact, so police ruled out black-market organ harvesting, but could not find a motive.
At the time police were looking for a woman, in connection with the assault. The child had told them that he was attacked by a blonde woman who spoke with an accent from another region. Later he changed his story. His family chalk this discrepancy up to his having been disoriented by the attack.
Soon investigators settled unofficially on Binbin’s aunt Zhang Huiying as a suspect after they reportedly found his blood on her clothes. Six days after the attack the aunt committed suicide by throwing herself into a well, never sharing with anyone a motive for the attack on Binbin. Charges were never brought against her and the evidence against her was kept secret until after her death.
The case seemed to have reached a tragic conclusion: no suspect, no motive, and as for Binbin, he would never see again.
The attack outraged many in China and abroad. One person in particular was Hong Kong-based eye expert Dennis Lam, who has made arrangements to give the boy “electronic” eyes with the parents’ consent. He told the AFP, ”When I heard about it. I was really angry, very upset. I was asking myself if I can help.”
The first step Lam proposed would fit the boy with a camera that would transmit image data electrically to the brain through the tongue. This stimulus, according to Lam, eventually teaches the brain to “see” again in a new way. Down the road, say ten years, Binbin would be fitted with “bionic” eyes that transfer images directly to the brain. According to Lam, Guobin could regain 20 to 40 percent of his vision — all this at no cost to the family.
Lam offered to start the procedure right away.