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Telescope Implant Now Available for Seniors 65 Years and OlderThe number one cause of permanent vision loss in older adults is Age Related Macular Degeneration. Most patients with end stage macular degeneration in both eyes are unable to do many activities of daily life, including reading, driving, recognizing people, and writing. Until now, there have been a limited number of options available to help. These options include magnifiers, increased power reading glasses, or magnifying closed circuit televisions. Recently, a new option has become available for these people, the Implantable Miniature Telescope or IMT device. This device has the advantage of a telescope because it is able to magnify an image using a larger area of vision to help people see. The disadvantage is that the eye which has the telescope in it loses the peripheral image in that eye and has to rely on the opposite eye in order to see peripherally. The IMT is a rehabilitation device and, with the proper rehabilitation and training, can help patients, regain some of their previously lost activities, including being able to recognize faces, watch television and read large print.
The IMT process is a multi disciplinary approach, requiring a medical team of practitioners to assist the patient on their journey to better vision. The team includes a retina specialist, a specially trained cataract surgeon, a low vision optometrist, and a low vision occupational therapist.
The retina specialist identifies patients who may be candidates. The people have stable end stage macular degeneration in both eyes, are over 65 years of age, and have not had previous cataract surgery in both eyes (one is acceptable). The patient is then examined by the low vision optometrist and the low vision occupational therapist, assessing the patient for rehabilitation. The patient then sees the cataract surgeon to make sure the eye is healthy enough to undergo surgery.
After surgery, the patient will see the surgeon, the low vision optometrist, and undergo occupational therapy for 3 months to help as the patient adapts to the new device.
In the clinical trails, there was a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for these patients. This device is the first of its kind and Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates, in cooperation with Santa Rosa Low Vision and Lions Eye Foundation, is very excited to be able to offer this procedure to patients in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.
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