There is nothing more precious than eyes in the human body. As we age various health problems arise with various parts of the body including eyes that can lead to loss of vision. Cataract and Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is the common eye disorder, which occurs in old age. AMD damages the center of the retina, or macula, and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field. People with AMD are unable to read, watch TV and even unable to recognize faces. About 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from this condition, and nearly 2 million of them already have significant loss of vision. Medical device industry has made progress in addressing need of AMD patients by developing a breakthrough technology which has been approved by FDA.
About the device
The tiny device, called Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) or miniature telescope, is designed to replace the natural lens. The device was developed by VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies Inc. of Saratoga, California. The device is intended for patients of age 75 years and older with severe to profound vision impairment that has been stable over time due to blind spots from end-stage AMD.
The IMT is available in two models; one model provides 2.2 times magnification and the other 2.7 times. It is designed to magnify and project images onto a healthy portion of the afflicted person’s retina. It is intended for use in only one eye because the other eye is used for peripheral vision, according to the FDA.
href="http://www.knowabouthealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Implantable-Miniature-Telescope-1.jpg" target="_blank">Supporting Research
The clinical trial was conducted on 219 patients. The results revealed 75% improvement in the level of vision from severe or profound impairment to moderate impairment.
Side effects of Implantable Miniature Telescope
Although new device is smaller than the size of a pea and shows promise, but it can pose a threat to the cornea of the eye, leading to extensive loss of cells essential for maintaining the clarity of the cornea.
According to Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “This innovation has the potential to provide many people with an improved quality of life.”
The new device shows significant progress in providing vision to old people, who can miss childhood of their grand kids due to impaired vision. However, VisionCare should perform more research and a bigger clinical trial after the launch of the device into the market to evaluate the long term effects on patients. In the current scenario, it looks like doctors have high expectations from this FDA approved new device – Implantable Miniature Telescope. I hope IMT continue to show promise in future, thereby improving quality of life of vision impaired people AMD.