Health Team

Mini telescope implant may improve vision

Posted October 22, 2015
Updated October 30, 2015

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., affecting more than 15 million Americans, and that number is expected to double by the year 2050.

However, a new implantable miniature telescope may improve vision.

Due to age-related macular degeneration, 77-year-old Carol Tickle slowly lost her central vision. Even her peripheral vision was blurry.

“I couldn't see to cook or anything like that. I could see to get around,” she said.

Tickle also had cataracts, which helped her qualify for a new FDA-approved Implantable Miniature Telescope by CentraSight.

In an outpatient procedure at Rex Hospital, ophthalmologist Dr. Isaac Porter removed her cataract and replaced it with the implant. The telescope itself is smaller than a pea and redirects the image to a part of the retina unaffected by the disease.

“With the telescope, it magnifies the images three times,” Porter said. “It effectively minimizes the blind spot to make it smaller and then enlarges the images they're trying to see.”

The implant comes with a whole-team approach to care involving the cornea surgeon, a retina specialist, optometrist and a low-vision occupational therapist.

Ailse O'Neill with Therapeutic Solutions works with Tickle in her Hillsborough home. She's learning how to coordinate peripheral vision in her left eye with the magnified vision in her right eye.

Dark glasses help minimize glare from lights. There are things Tickle never thought she would ever do again.

“I want to get back to cooking, you know, I'm a southern girl, and I'm really waiting to be able to go back to bowling,” she said.

Those goals are now within sight. Tickle is the first patient in the Raleigh area to receive the implantable miniature telescope for age-related macular degeneration.


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