Implanted telescope improves vision of individuals with AMD.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Telescope (Innovations)
Telescope (Usage)
Eye, Instruments and apparatus for (Usage)
Macular degeneration (Care and treatment)
Pub Date: 08/01/2009
Publication: Name: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness Publisher: American Foundation for the Blind Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Foundation for the Blind ISSN: 0145-482X
Issue: Date: August, 2009 Source Volume: 103 Source Issue: 8
Product: Product Code: 3841240 Ophthalmological & Audiometric Eqp NAICS Code: 33911 Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing SIC Code: 3841 Surgical and medical instruments
Organization: Government Agency: United States. Food and Drug Administration
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 207944194
Full Text: A glass telescope, the size of a pea, was successfully implanted in the eyes of numerous people with severely damaged retinas due to untreatable late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) is a micro-sized precision telescope that is implanted in one eye in an outpatient surgical procedure conducted under local anesthesia. The telescopes, manufactured by VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies in Saratoga, California, are designed to magnify (from 2.2x to 3.0x magnification, depending on the model) images on the retina, providing central vision. The nonimplanted eye continues to provide peripheral vision in patients who receive IMT. Although the device does not cure AMD, several phases of clinical trials have revealed that it has benefitted patients with the disease. "The published data show improved visual acuity in end-stage AMD patients that was maintained over two years--a three-line improvement that we have previously shown makes a real impact on our patients' independence and quality of life," said Henry L. Hudson, a retina specialist in Tucson, Arizona, and lead author of two published research articles on the results of the clinical trials. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Hudson explained that the device cannot be implanted in all individuals with AMD; he said, "'Maybe only 20 out of every 100 candidates will get the telescope.... [Many people] may not be eligible because of the shape of their eyes,' or they may have another problem, like maintaining balance, that precludes their selection...."

Earlier this year, after 5 years of trials and prior submissions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ophthalmic device panel of the FDA voted to recommend approval of IMT, which has already been approved for use in Europe. Dan Roberts, founding director of MD Support, a public service organization that pro vides information and support to people who are affected by retinal disease, spoke to the FDA advisory panel shortly before their unanimous approval of the device: "Until now, nothing has offered long-term vision restoration for people in the advanced stage of [AMD, which] has traditionally been one of transition to nonvisual skills, such as cane use and braille. With the IMT, it may be possible for some [people with AMD] to put that off indefinitely...." For more information, contact: VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, 14395 Saratoga Avenue, Suite 150, Saratoga, CA 95070; phone: 408-8729393; e-mail: ; web site: . [Information for this item was taken from the July 19, 2009, New York Times article, entitled "Better Vision, With a Telescope Inside the Eye," by Anne Eisenberg.]
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