Friday, April 3, 2009

Telescope eye implant restores sight lost from macular degeneration

California-based VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies has an ocular implant that, once inserted, would help out anyone suffering from macular degeneration (which means the elderly, in most cases). With macular degeneration, you typically lose your vision in the center of your eyesight, so VisionCare's telescope implant, which uses two lenses inside a small glass tube, would restore that central blind spot. The downside of the telescope, however, is that you'd experience a loss in your peripheral vision with that eye.

That's why doctors recommend only implanting one eye. "Instead of using two parts of the same eye, they must switch between two eyes," Eli Peli, a scientist at The Schepens Eye Research Institute, told the Technology Review, "If they see someone coming but can't tell who it is, they need to switch to other eye."

It may sound like a hassle, but it's just a matter of training yourself — and the benefit of being able to see straight ahead again is worth it. The implant is still waiting for FDA approval. If it does get a green light, then doctors can begin surgically implanting the telescope, which is held in place by the tissue of the eye.

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