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Johns Hopkins Health - Better Vision in Sight for Sufferers of Age-Related Eye Disease

Winter 2013
Issue No. 19

Better Vision in Sight for Sufferers of Age-Related Eye Disease

Date: January 17, 2013


If you are suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—a disease that slowly destroys the eye tissue related to central vision—and think hope is lost for clearly seeing the faces of loved ones again, there might be a chance for regaining some of your independence and quality of life. The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute is one of the first institutions in the country to offer an implanted miniature telescope that replaces the eye’s natural lens and can help certain people with AMD see better.

“This device can enhance distance vision and improve clarity,” says Judith Goldstein, O.D., Wilmer’s chief of low vision and vision rehabilitation service. But she is cautious: “Careful screening of candidates is essential to ensure rehabilitation after surgery will maximize visual function and meet patient expectations.”

This is an alternative to external telescopes, which some people find to be cumbersome and provide only a narrow field of vision. Rather, the new implanted telescope could be life-altering.

Oliver Schein, M.D., Wilmer’s vice chairman for quality and safety and a surgical investigator on the study that led to Food and Drug Administration approval of the device, says the implant can help many patients with facial recognition, television watching and social interactions, and allow them to track moving objects more easily than can be done with a conventional external telescope.

Ideal candidates for the implant are people ages 75 and older who have stable AMD, aren’t undergoing active injection or laser treatment, haven’t had cataract surgery in at least one eye, and experience a measured benefit using an external telescope. According to a long-term safety study, the implant, which Medicare covers, improves vision an average of three lines on the eye chart.

For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.

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