Tiny Telescope, Huge Promise
November 14th, 2014 by Carolina Eye Associates
Tiny Telescope, Huge Promise
In January 2015 a Carolina Eye Associates team of surgeons, John French, MD, Greg Mincey, MD, and Arghavan Almony, MD, will be among the first surgeons to implant in an outpatient setting a miniature telescope for patients with advanced macular degeneration.
The CentraSight® treatment program features the first-ever telescope implant surgical option for patients with End-Stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most advanced form of AMD and the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. More than 15 million Americans are affected by some form of AMD. The number of Americans afflicted with macular degeneration is expected to double with the rapid aging of the U.S. population.
End-stage AMD results in a loss of central vision, or blind spot, and is uncorrectable by glasses, drugs or cataract surgery. This blind spot makes it difficult or impossible for patients to see faces, read, and perform everyday activities such as watching TV, preparing meals, and self-care. The telescope implant has been demonstrated in clinical trials to improve quality of life for those with central vision loss in both eyes by improving patients’ vision so they can see the things that are important to them, increase their independence, and re-engage in everyday activities. It also may help patients in social settings as it may allow them to recognize faces and see the facial expressions of family and friends.
The telescope implant offers a new hope to patients living with End-stage AMD. The device is integral to CentraSight® a new patient care program. It is the only surgical option that improves visual acuity by reducing the impact of the central vision blind spot caused by End-stage AMD.
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses micro-optical technology to magnify images which would normally be seen in one’s “straight ahead” or central, vision. The images are projected onto the healthy portion of the retina not affected by the disease, making it possible for patients to see or discern the central vision object of interest.
The telescope implant is not a cure for End-stage AMD. As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the telescope implant. Possible side effects include decreased vision or vision impairing corneal swelling. Potential candidates must have loss of central vision in both eyes and cannot have had previous cataract surgery in both eyes. Dr. Mincey states, “Although the implanted telescope is not for everyone with advanced AMD, the device offers great promise. He cautioned, “Success comes not from just the surgical procedure and requires commitment and extensive rehabilitation training. The patient must also train his or her brain to use the new vision.”
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