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Mini-Telescopes Restore Eyesight

Published: January 23, 2010

For centuries, we’ve used telescopes to explore the earth and peer into space. Now, implantable telescope technology is on the horizon to help people with the leading cause of blindness to maintain their independence and get back to enjoying life.

The CentraSight implantable miniature telescope from VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies http://www.visioncareinc.net/technology is awaiting FDA approval as a permanent solution for the “blind spot” caused by the most advanced cases of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD progressively damages a specialized area of the retina tissue at the back of the eye that is responsible for “straight-ahead” vision and enables people to drive, recognize faces, read books and labels, and view television and computer screens. The investigational device works in tandem with the eye’s cornea to focus enlarged images over areas of the retina unaffected by the disease.

The telescope implant is 4 mm long and contains two wide-angle glass lenses.Credit VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc.


Retina specialist Dr. Henry Hudson, a principal investigator in clinical trials of the CentraSight treatment for advanced AMD, shares this patient’s story:

“One of my patients was unable to see the faces of her grandchildren, and because they are all blonde, she couldn’t tell them apart. After the CentraSight treatment, she was able to recognize them by name. She was also able to resume riding her bike, something she had stopped doing because she couldn’t tell if she was going to hit someone in front of her on the sidewalk!”

Ophthalmic surgeons implant the pea-sized device into one eye during an outpatient procedure that involves removing the natural lens. The untreated eye retains peripheral (side) vision for mobility and navigation. A vision-training program maximizes the ability to perform daily activities.

FDA approval is anticipated later this year, says Dr. Hudson. Clinical studies conducted at 28 leading ophthalmic centers and in more than 225 patients demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful results.

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  • Wendy Braun

    Many are asking about the CentraSight mini-telesope surgery, and we can sure understand why. What a promising device! A company spokesperson confirmed today that the list of treatment centers will be announced as soon as Medicare coverage is approved, a decision that is expected any day now.

    We’ll post the approval here. You can also check centrasight.com for updates, eligibility criteria, and to submit a question. If you want to reach to an actual person, call CentraSight in Saratoga, California, and talk to Carol at 408.872.9393, ext 105.

    ~ Wendy Braun, Health Editor, Saturday Evening Post

  • jani

    This is a miracle for so many people who have lost eyesight due to AMD!
    My mom is a young 72y/o who has had to depend on others to do her driving, shopping, cleaning, etc. She has become very depressed over the last 3 or 4 years as she has been losing the battle with AMD. For over 35 years she has battled with physical and emotional pain of a deteriating spine and peripheal neuropathy. Doctors told her she’d be in a wheelchair by the time she was 50 and she stove to prove them wrong! She kept up her spirits and anything she could to keep moving. I’d love to see her be able to get out and about watching her grandkids and great grandkids grow, visiting friends and going to church and being happy again! Not being one to ask for help, she hates calling anyone to drive her anywhere knowing what busy schedules everyone has these days.
    I pray that she qualifies for the procedure! Her eye doc is in Tulsa. But I would fly her anywhere to get this procedure done! Anyone know when, where or how?

  • Walker Knight

    My wife has Retinitis pigmentosa. Could this device provide any potential for her in the near future?

  • Paul Foreman

    Could you please tell me where the nearest facility and ophthalmologist to Louisville Kentucky where this procedure can be performed?

  • camille bissell

    This could mean the difference between living independantly or having to go into an assisted living facility for my 95 year old mother-in-law. Could you please advise me of any doctor or facility in the State of Washington that I could contact regarding this (wonderful) new surgery? Thank you.

  • Joseph Richard jenki

    I have MD in both eyes and have lost sight in the left eye. Could you tell me of a doctor in Augusta that could perform this surgery? I am now seeing a retina specialist Dr. Singh but he has not mentioned this surgery.

  • Lisa Frazier

    I am looking for the nearest eye Dr who would perform the mini-Telescope surgery in my left eye. I’m a diabetic and I had cataract surgery in my left eye and now my sight is very blurry and out of my left eye it looks as if my T.V. is always snowy and I have a hard time identify faces from a distance. I live in Pittsburgh, PA

  • June Thiele

    My husband has only one eye affected with Macular Degeneration, but we are still extremely interested in any information we could receive for our area, that would help us find a doctor that is performing this type of surgery. We live in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia but would prefer going to someone in the Baltimore, Md. area. He has previously been treated by the Omni Eye Clinic in that city. Dr. Garcia is lead physician at that facility.

  • Claudette H.

    I really like Norman Rockwell’s hidden errors paintings. Anymore in the near future?
    Thanks for having such a wonderful internet site!

    Claudette (Cleo)

    P. S. I was born and raised in New England.

  • Frank James Davis

    Encouraging news.