An Implantable Telescope (in Retina) to Reverse Vision Loss

Washington: A small telescope-like device developed by ophthalmologists in the US may be able to halt and even reverse vision loss caused by macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease.


--- Picture: An illustration of how the miniature telescope projects data back to the eye ---
According to a new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, the tiny optical prosthetics dramatically improved the vision of about 140 patients studied in a clinical trial over two years.
Macular degeneration is a medical condition found in elderly people. Due to the disease, the centre of the inner lining of the eye, known as the macula area of the retina, suffers thinning, atrophy and also bleeding in some cases. This can result in loss of central vision, which leads to inability in seeing fine details, reading or recognising faces. There is no known treatment to correct macular degeneration yet.
Now, the new Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT), developed by US-based VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, could offer relief to those suffering from the disease.“This is a good device and it offers hope for people with no other options,” says Kathryn Colby, lead author of the study and an ophthalmologist. The IMT is a compound telescope system which consists of a glass cylinder that is 4.4mm in length and 3.6mm in diameter, and houses wide-angle micro-optics.
The prosthetic telescope is implanted by an ophthalmic surgeon in the eye that provides central vision. The device works with the eye’s cornea like a telephoto system, rendering an enlarged retinal image designed to reduce the area of diminished vision, reported the online edition of Scientific American. Doctors caution that this is not an easy fix, and they are developing special techniques to properly implant the device without damaging the eye. However, the regulatory body for medicine in the US has given the green signal to ophthalmologists for implanting the device.

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