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Implantable Telescope Receives FDA Approval for Treatment of End Stage Macular Degeneration

July 10, 2010

The Implantable Telescope Technology is housed in a prosthetic
device composed of three primary components: a fused quartz glass
capsule that contains wide-angle micro-optical elements; a clear
polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) carrier; and a blue PMMA light
restrictor. The sealed optical component is snap-fitted into the
carrier plate.

VisionCare Corporation announced that they received FDA approval for their Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT).  This device will be helpful in restoring vision in patients suffering from end stage macular degeneration (AMD).  AMD, a condition that mainly affects older people, damages the
center of the retina (macula) and results in a loss of vision in the
center of the visual field. About 8 million people in the United States
have AMD and nearly 2 million of them already have significant vision
loss, according to the National Eye Institute. AMD can make it
difficult or impossible to recognize faces or perform daily tasks such
as reading or watching television.

Surgically implanted in one eye, the IMT is a small telescope that
replaces the natural lens and provides an image that has been magnified
more than two times. According to the FDA:

The IMT is used in patients ages 75 years and older with stable severe
to profound vision impairment (when vision impairment has not changed
over time) caused by blind spots (bilateral central scotoma) associated
with end-stage AMD. These patients also have evidence of a visually
significant cataract. 

The IMT is available in two models: one that provides 2.2 times
magnification and another 2.7 times magnification. The IMT is designed
to magnify and project images onto a healthy portion of the retina. The
IMT is intended to be implanted in only one eye; the non-implanted eye
is used for peripheral vision.

Patients agree to undergo training with an external telescope with a
low vision specialist prior to implantation to determine whether
adequate improvement in vision with the external telescope can be
obtained and to verify if the patient has adequate peripheral vision in
the eye that would not be implanted. Patients also agree to participate
in a post-operative visual training program.

The Implantable Telescope Technology is housed in a prosthetic
device composed of three primary components: a fused quartz glass
capsule that contains wide-angle micro-optical elements; a clear
polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) carrier; and a blue PMMA light
restrictor. The sealed optical component is snap-fitted into the
carrier plate.


Diane Sawyer reported on this device on the Nightly News this week.

I was fortunate enough to observe early clinical results of this device several years ago at the annual AAO meeting.  These results were very encouraging at the time, and I have been anxioiusly awaiting its approval.  I look forward to hopefully providing this service to my patients in the near future.


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