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Implantable Miniature Telescope

Macular degeneration can take away central vision, making it very difficult to read and see faces. This results from damage to the light sensors in the center of the retina in the back of the eye. Currently, the only available surgical treatment to improve vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the implantable miniature telescope from the CentraSight program.

Below are some images of the device with a dime as a size reference:


We are very happy to have this advanced technology available for our patients since Isaac Porter, MD is the cornea surgeon for the Raleigh area who is able to place the telescope implant. The procedure to place the implantable miniature telescope (IMT) is somewhat similar to a cataract operation.

In cataract surgery, we remove the cloudy lens from the eye (cataract) and replace the lens with a clear artificial lens implant. With telescope implant surgery, we also remove a cataract, and then we place the telescope inside the eye. This is a more involved operation because the telescope implant is much larger than a standard lens implant.
At this time, we are unable to place the implantable miniature telescope in patients who have already had cataract surgery. The recovery period is longer than cataract surgery as well, with most patients learning how to use the telescope and adjust to their new vision in one to three months. The other eye is used for peripheral vision and mobility since the telescope decreases peripheral vision in the eye with the telescope.
The IMT magnifies images three times larger, which helps reduce the size of the blind spot in the center of vision in patients with end-stage macular degeneration. This can help improve vision and improve the quality of life for our patients after this operation. It will not allow them to drive again, but can help them read better and see the faces of their friends and family more clearly.
Currently, the telescope implant is approved for patients age 65 and older with end-stage macular degeneration who have not needed an injection for AMD in the last six months. There are also specific vision requirements to qualify for surgery, but generally, if you have difficulty seeing faces or someone's smile, you may qualify.

Local television station, WRAL, ran a story recently that described how the device works and profiled an implant recipient. You can watch the video of the story here: WRAL Video

If you or any of your family members are suffering from macular degeneration and are interested in improving your vision, please give us a call at (919) 876-4064, set up an appointment, and learn if you may qualify for this breakthrough technology.
For more information on the Implantable Miniature Telescope, also see the CentraSight website.