Age-related Macular Degeneration destroys the macula and creates a centralized blind spot that directly affects an individual’s quality of life. Symptoms of AMD vary from a reduction or loss in contrast sensitivity to distorted vision.
Up until recently, patients suffering from the end stages of Macular Degeneration have little options available for him or her: learn to walk with a cane, forget about reading or driving, and try to make the most of what little vision you may have. Thankfully, technology is making slow but steady progress and a new treatment may offer an alternative for AMD patients.
VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies has developed a miniature telescope – so tiny, it fits inside your eye – called CentraSight, which can help AMD patients see better, just days after being implanted. This procedure was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2011 and has already helped patients go from profound impairment to moderate impairment or better.
The tiny telescope – about the size of a pea – has two wide-angle, high-power lenses and is placed inside your eye providing better central vision. The other eye is left alone so that it can provide peripheral vision. Those two viewpoints are combined by the human brain into one single image. The FDA cautions that this surgery won’t help all of the 2 million Americans living with Macular Degeneration and it won’t restore vision back to 20/20, but it will make a huge difference. In order to be eligible for this procedure you need to be 75 years or older, suffer from end stages of AMD, and haven’t had cataract surgery in the past. The procedure comes with a steep price tag at $16,000 but it has been said to be covered by Medicare.
While this new device will help a selected few regain some of their vision, it is followed by many long months of rehabilitation and occupational therapy and should not be classified as a “cure” – it merely goes around the disease’s symptoms and offers a temporary solution. Individuals who are more at risk of developing AMD need to start taking measures to prevent the disease from developing by modifying their lifestyle and adding the necessary nutritional supplements to their diet.
Learn more about AMD, its symptoms and how to prevent it: