The FDA has approved a device that may give patients with end-stage macular degeneration (AMD) a viable option to regain some of their central vision. A pea-sized miniature telescope (Implantable Miniature Telescope) can magnify images in the central blind spot that are typically blocked in end-stage wet AMD or advanced dry AMD. The device is not a cure for AMD, rather it is intended to improve the quality of life in patients who are severely visually impaired. The telescope implant will allow patients to recognize faces, see headlines in newspapers and possibly read large-print books.
The telescope is implanted into the anterior segment of the eye. The patient uses the eye without the implant for peripheral vision. The telescope essentially acts as a low vision aid for patients with end-stage AMD who have no other options for improved vision.
Candidates for the telescope implant must be 75 years or older with severe vision impairment in both eyes due to end stage AMD, and cannot have had previous cataract surgery. Following the procedure, patients must receive rehabilitation with a low vision specialist. In the U.S. FDA Clinical Trials, most patients adapted to using one eye centrally and the other eye peripherally after a period of time.