Implantable Telescope Treats Macular Degeneration

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Implantable Telescope Treats Macular Degeneration

Implantable telescope receives FDA approval for treating patients with severe vision loss from macular degneration.

A new implantable intraocular telescope is now available for patients with endstage macular degeneration.  Patients with severe, bilateral (both eyes), loss of central vision caused by macular degeneration may now benefit from this tiny visual prosthesis.  The company, VisionCare, received FDA approval for CentraSight just last week.

How Does CentraSight Work?

The CentraSight implantable telescope is designed to be placed inside only one of your eyes.  This  “telescope,” a very strong intraocular lens, will magnify your central vision and project your central vision on a larger corresponding area of your retina.  The operative eye (the eye receiving the implant) will give you central vision.

Your other eye (not receiving the implant, but has lousy central vision) will remain the same, but give you peripheral vision.  You’ll have one eye for central and the other eye for peripheral vision.

The CentraSight Program

There are four steps;  Diagnosis, Screening, Implantation and Visual Training.

Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration

You must suffer from end-stage macular degeneration.  This can be either wet  or dry.  This must be confirmed by a retina specialist.  You must be stable and are no longer treatable with any medications such as anti-VEGF.

Candidate Screening

In addition to suffering from macular degeneration, other criteria include;

  • you are legally blind from macular degeneration
  • vision improves with external telescope simulator
  • your disease is irreversible, and no longer needing drug treatment
  • you have not had cataract surgery in the eye receiving the implant
  • you meet age, vision, eye and health requirements

Surgical Implantation

Once you are determined to be an excellent candidate, surgery will be performed very similar to cataract surgery.  It will be performed as an outpatient.  There are risks of eye surgery, but none too different than other intraocular surgery.

Visual Rehabilitation

After surgery, you’ll work with eye doctors and other low vision professionals to teach you to use your new intraocular telescope.

What Does This Mean? This is not a cure for the disease, but seems to be an excellent choice for those that have profound, permanent, visual loss.  This may potentially return visual function to those suffering from permanent loss of their central vision.  This could transform disability to impairment (another topic of discussion).

This means there is hope despite a pretty bleak path for those that have suffered significant loss of vision so far.

This means we should be watchful for more news as it develops and mindful that this is brand new.

It is exciting.

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  • Dick Marquis August 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Is there any similar treatment for those who have had cataract surgery?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. August 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      There is not a lot of information about those eyes with implants. We’ll see. This press release is a bit strange, there is limited information available.

      Stay in touch.


  • Sharon Isselhardt August 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    My mom is 95 and suffers from this and her eyesight continues to worsen each day. What are the age and health restrictions for this type of implant?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. August 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm


      Right now, it seems there are no age restrictions. Having said that, the response from the company is poor. Several of my colleagues and I are interested in participating, but have not heard back from the company.

      I doubt there will be any restrictions on patient selection as long as they can get medical clearance to have surgery…whoever is qualified.


  • Glenann November 3, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    To whom it may concern,
    What sites in the US do this? Did they get the approval from Medicare to cover it?
    My father was screened and he qualifies, we are just wondering what the next step is.
    Thank you,

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

      We have tried to contact the company on several occasions….we, too, are anxiously awaiting.


  • RonE December 30, 2010 at 12:02 am

    My wife suffers from Macular Dystrophy which is similar to Macular Degeneration. She is in excellent health and has been legally blind for 40 years. She is 61 years of age.

    Would she be a potential candidate for this implant?

    Thank you.


    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. December 31, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Dear RonE,

      While the indications for the implant require the diagnosis of macular degeneration, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine that your wife could be given the same diagnosis. I’d keep a watchful eye out for more news about the implant.

      Sadly, it appears that the company was not ready for marketing their product though it gained FDA approval. We, at our center, have applied to be included, but have only received one email since I requested inclusion in November.

      We’ll see.

      Happy New Year.


  • Claudia November 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Doctor Wong,
    I was wondering if you have had any updates and are treating patients with Macular Desiese; my father is almost 83 and was diagnosed with it 3 years ago, his vision is going fast, he is very healthy, loves painting and playing golf, I can’t imagine how terrible his condition is, but he is slowly stopping from doing his activities due to his poor vision. I wish to get more information, hoping you are already doing this intraocular telescope implanting.
    Thank you in advance

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. November 15, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Dear Claudia,

      Unfortunately, there is little new information about the telescope. We are not implanting at this time.


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