Scientists at UC Davis Health Systems
have successfully started installing implants into eyes of patients who suffer from age-related macular degeneration, thus giving them brand new vision.
Macular degeneration, the leading cause of legal blindness in Americans over the age of 60, damages the macula – the part of the retina that provides central vision. This loss of central vision affects a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. Unfortunately, macular degeneration has been known to cause depression and diminish quality of life.
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) is an extremely tiny implant that has been approved for end-stage age-related macular degeneration. With a combination of mirrors, the implant magnifies the image 2-3 times of the normal size and projects on the retina for the eye to see.
Retina Specialists at UC Davis Health Systems
started installing the implant in May, and so far 50 patients have received it. One of the recipients, an 89 year old artist named Virginia Bane who stopped painting four years ago because of age related macular degeneration, is extremely enthralled. “I can see better now”, she said after the surgery. “Colors are more vibrant, beautiful and natural, and I can read large prints with my glasses. I haven’t been able to read for the past seven years. I look forward to being able to paint again.”
Soon Virginia would be able to see even better as she retrains her brain how to see.
Approximately 60% of the patients were able to see three or more lines on the eye chart right after surgery.
The patient needs to met the following requirements to receive this implant:
- Must be at least 75 years of age.
- Must have retinal findings of geography atrophy or disciform scar with foveal involvement.
- Must have BCVA of 20/160 – 20/800.
- Must have evidence of a cataract in one eye.
- Must be willing to undergo pre-operative screening and post operative training with a low vision therapist.
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Source: UC Davis Health Systems (1), UC Davis Health Systems (2), Fox News via Gizmodo
Image sources: UC Davis Health Systems (1)