Implantable Telescope is Available!

Implantable Telescope is Available!

CentraSight Now Available, CMS to reimburse for implantable telescope to treat macular degeneration

CentraSight, the implantable telescope for macular degeneration, is now available! CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has approved the telescope for those patients with macular degeneration meeting the eligibility criteria for the surgical procedure.

Medicare/Medicaid will cover the cost of the implant and the surgery in certain patients as October 1, 2011! For now, the procedure has a designation of a transitional pass-through payment, that is, CMS will approve the procedure for 2-3 years until enough payment data can be collected.

The Telescope Improves Vision

To achieve this milestone, Visioncare, the parent company, needed to show that the implantable telescope for macular degeneration met several criteria;

  • FDA Approval
  • CMS deems reasonable and necessary
  • Device offers Substantial Clinical Improvement

FDA Approval: VisionCare received FDA approval for their telescope last August.

Substantial Clinical Improvement may be difficult to attain as the device must surpass some steep challenges.  In order to achieve this status, one of the following situations must be true;

  1. the new device must be better than other available treatments
  2. the device improves the ability to diagnose a condition
  3. the device significantly improves the patient (i.e. clinical outcomes)

Availability of the CentraSight Telescope

For now, according to my contact at VisionCare, CentraSight will be offered at the locations where the original clinical trials were performed.  This has been their plan all along.  With time, as more physicians become trained, the availability will widen.

What Does This Mean? This is the first real step to helping patients with significant visual loss in both eyes.  The surgery to insert the “telesope” is similar to cataract implantation, yet the CentraSight will modify the images so more of the retina surrounding the macula is utilized for vision.

While patients with either form of the disease might be candidates, this is the first FDA sanctioned “therapy” for patients with severe loss of vision from dry ARMD.

This is not a cure or a “fix” for loss of central vision, however, the telescope does improve function for those that have no central vision from the disease and can lead to am improvement in the quality of life.

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  • Junaid Akhtar
    Posted at 02:18h, 14 September Reply

    Sir, i am from Pakistan please let me know how can i will get this treatment. Can the Stargard disease patient can be treated.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 06:12h, 19 September Reply

      Dear Juanid,

      Right now Stargardt’s is not an indication for the telescope.


  • sharon durham
    Posted at 17:33h, 14 September Reply

    I have ocular histoplasmosis in my right eye i have no central vision I do however have peripheral vision. As a nurse working full time as well as a full time student, you can imagine how difficult this can be. I am presently treating with Southeast Retina Associates in Kingsport, TN by Dr Couch I have had 2 Avastin Injections thus far. My right eyes’ vision is constantly changing. My opthalmologist is Dr. John Chambers in Rogersville. Do you think I would be a candidate for telescopic treatment.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 06:25h, 19 September Reply

      Dear Sharon,

      At this time, you are not a candidate, but you probably could get the telescope.

      The CMS criteria establish candidacy for those patients that will have the procedure covered by insurance. If you don’t qualify, you could always pay out of pocket.

      Since you are working, I am guessing your left eye is much better? If that is the case, you probably don’t want the telescope! One of the criteria for the device is bilateral vision loss.


  • David Dyer
    Posted at 18:41h, 15 October Reply

    My Father has been told he is a good candidate for this implant. Where in the U.S. is it being offered?

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