A new FDA-approved telescope implant is available to treat the most advanced form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or End-Stage AMD, in which both eyes have central vision loss. End-Stage AMD can develop from either the dry or the wet form of AMD and is not curable with drugs. The telescope implant helps by using healthy areas of the retina to see instead of the area affected by macular degeneration. The telescope implant is used in a comprehensive patient treatment program called CentraSight&™. The CentraSight treatment program includes several steps, including proper diagnosis, candidate screening/evaluation, and visual rehabilitation. The goal is to help patients reconnect to the things in life they love to see and do.
Learn More About the CentraSight Treatment Program
The treatment program uses a mini telescope that is implanted in the eye to help improve vision for patients that have End-Stage AMD. Typically, the telescope is implanted into one eye and provides central vision, while the other eye provides peripheral vision. The actual telescope is very tiny, about the size of a pea. The telescope helps to improve vision, but will not cure the AMD and will not restore the vision to what it was before AMD developed.
In order to qualify for the implant, there are several criteria and steps that must first be met.
- A potential candidate must have End-Stage AMD, can no longer take drug treatments for the AMD, has not had cataract surgery in the eye the telescope will be implanted and meets the age, vision, and cornea eye health requirements.
- If a patient meets these outlined criteria, a diagnosis of End-Stage AMD must be made by a Retina Ophthalmologist such as Dr. Prema Abraham at the Eye Institute.
- After the End-Stage AMD diagnosis, a patient must see an Optometrist specializing in Low Vision, as well as a Low Vision Occupational Therapist.
- Assuming these consultations go well, the final step is to see a Cornea Ophthalmologist such as Dr. Steve Khachikian at the Eye Institute. Your vision will be tested using an external telescope simulator to determine the benefit of the implant. Also, if the cornea eye health meets the requirements, then the surgery for implantation of the telescope is scheduled.
What to Expect with the Telescope Implant
This implant will not cure your vision and give the ability to do activities such as driving and sports such as golfing or tennis. The telescope is meant to help improve your ability to recognize faces of family and friends, to enjoy activities such as reading and watching television, and to appreciate hobbies such as painting, knitting, and gardening. A successful patient will work with low vision specialists and practice at home using the implant technology.
The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. The eye is numbed so there is no pain, the pupil is enlarged using certain eye drops, the natural lens of the eye is removed, the telescope is placed in the same position as the natural lens was located, and suture closes the incision. Several follow-up visits are required and the patient must take eye drops for several weeks following surgery. The vision improves weeks to months after surgery.