Approximately 2 million Americans have advanced forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans over the age of 65. Patients with end-stage AMD have a central blind spot or missing area in their vision. Despite the availability of drug treatments that slow the progression of AMD, the number of people with end-stage AMD is expected to double by the year 2050. Now, there's a possible treatment option for patients with end-stage, age-related AMD – the telescope implant. Here's some information on this new option.
CentraSight (www.CentraSight.com) is a treatment program using a tiny telescope that is implanted inside the eye to improve vision and quality of life for patients with the most advanced form of macular degeneration: end-stage AMD. The program is designed to help patients see the things that are important to them, like their loved ones, and re-engage in everyday activities, like reading, walking and preparing meals.
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses micro-optical technology to magnify images which would normally be seen in your "straight ahead" or central vision. The images are projected onto the healthy portion of the retina not affected by macular degeneration, making it possible for patients to see straight ahead. The implantation procedure is performed on only one eye, and involves removing the eye's natural lens and replacing it with the tiny telescope implant. The other eye remains as is to preserve peripheral vision, which is important for balance and orientation. The surgery is done in an outpatient setting by a specially trained ophthalmologist called a cornea/cataract surgeon. To watch a video that shows how the implantable telescope works, visit www.centrasight.com/centrasight_technology.
The telescope implant is FDA approved, available through Medicare and has been clinically demonstrated to improve vision and quality of life for patients with this advanced form of macular degeneration. It is important to note that the inclusion criteria to be considered a possible candidate are narrow. An ophthalmologist must first confirm that you:
- Have irreversible, end-stage AMD resulting from either dry or wet AMD;
- Are no longer a candidate for drug treatment of your AMD;
- Have not had cataract surgery in the eye in which the telescope will be implanted; and
- Meet age, vision, and cornea health requirements.
The CentraSight treatment program is coordinated by retina specialists who treat macular degeneration and other back-of-the-eye disorders. A unique aspect of the evaluation is the ability to simulate, prior to surgery, what a person may expect to see once the telescope is implanted to determine if the improvement possible will meet the patient's expectations. Once the telescope has been implanted by an eye surgeon, the patient will need to work with vision rehabilitation therapists for approximately 6 to 12 weeks to learn how to use their new vision in daily life. Risks include all those associated with cataract surgery, such as postoperative inflammation, raised intraocular pressure, corneal swelling, and the potential for comprised corneal health.
CentraSight treatment centers are located across the nation. Patients or caregivers can call 1-877-99-SIGHT (1-877-997-4448) for more information and to find the treatment center in their area.