SENIORS | Implant offers hope for those with macular degenerationby brandpoint media
|Follow j. on||and|
Imagine what it’s like to slowly lose your vision over time — until one day you no longer can read, see the faces of loved ones or participate in your favorite hobbies. While most people accept achy joints or muscle weakness as part of the aging process, eyesight is a critical factor in maintaining a high quality of life and independence.
Severe vision loss is a reality for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease of the retina that affects more than 9.1 million people in the United States. The disease robs people of their central vision and leaves only what they can see in their peripheral vision, sometimes making even the simplest activities difficult. AMD’s most advanced form, end-stage AMD, is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and legal blindness in people age 60 and older.
Currently there is no cure for AMD and no way to reverse its effects, although there are advanced treatments, including medication injections, laser surgery, and what is most recently getting attention, an FDA-approved telescope implant that has been clinically demonstrated to improve vision and quality of life for patients living with this debilitating disease.
“The telescope implant surgical procedure removes the eye’s natural lens, and replaces it with a tiny telescope, about the size of a pea,” said Dr. Mark Mannis, professor and chair of the U.C. Davis Health System Eye Center. “It may sound like science fiction, but it is available to patients today. The telescope is implanted in one eye to improve central vision, something no other surgery can do for patients with AMD. The other eye will continue to provide peripheral vision, which is important to maintain orientation and balance.”
After learning how to use the telescope, Mannis said, “patients may enjoy better sight so they can do the things they love again like reading, knitting, gardening, walking outside and simply recognizing the faces of family and friends.”
Patients can talk to their ophthalmologist to see if this procedure is right for them.
The telescope implant is integral to one new patient care program, CentraSight. The CentraSight treatment program has been designed to help patients see the things that are important to them, regain independence and re-engage in everyday activities. The program uses a multispecialty eye and vision care team to follow the necessary steps for proper diagnosis, surgical evaluation, and postoperative care.
While the telescope implant does not fully restore vision to its pre-AMD level, it will help the patient enjoy better sight and quality of life following an individualized rehabilitation process, where the patient learns exactly how to use the new telescope implant vision for everyday activities.
For retired entrepreneur Willis “James” Hindman, 77, of Westminster, Md., the losses he faced from end-stage AMD were both physical and emotional. Hindman’s passions are his family, friends and the horses that he raises on his farm. AMD destroyed his vision to the point where he couldn’t see people’s faces or watch his race horses cross the finish line. He felt he was a prisoner of his own limitations and quickly became depressed.
Hindman had corrective surgery last December and today feels he has “a new lease on life.” Working with his low-vision occupational therapist, he practices strengthening his eye with standard vision exercises and also incorporates personalized, fun activities, like watching his fishing lure bob in the water.
Now Hindman also watches football from across the room, walks to his local office without counting steps and, most gratifyingly, sees the faces of his loved ones, including his horses. n
Be the first to comment!