Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in older people. It affects the central portion of the retina (tissue at the back of the eye) known as the macula, causing a loss of central vision. While it does not result in complete blindness it can cause severe problems with daily tasks such as reading, driving or even recognizing faces.
A new FDA-approved telescope implant has been developed in the US to treat certain patients with end-stage AMD, defined as severe loss of vision due to advanced AMD in both eyes. The tiny device is smaller than a pea and implanted in the area where the eye’s lens would normally be, behind the iris. The telescope will magnify images and project them to an area of the retina located outside the diseased portion of the macula. The telescope is implanted only in one eye, leaving the other eye to be used for tasks involving peripheral vision. Studies done show that patients gained 3-4 lines on the vision chart and had improved quality of life after receiving the procedure.
Once the surgery is complete the patients participate in a program lasting 6-12 weeks during which they learn to use the device properly. Currently it’s available only to patients who have not had cataract surgery in at least one eye with end-stage AMD, but research is being done and it will hopefully soon be extended to others.
For more information visit www.centrasight.com