FDA Approves Implantable Mini Telescope
It sounds like a story straight from a SciFi-book: VisionCare has released a pea-sized implantable telescope designed to improve the vision of patients suffering from macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is an often age-related disorder that damages the macula, the center of the retina that is required for focused, sharp sight. The disease can spread to wider parts of the retina, resulting in blindness. The device is implanted directly into the eye, where it magnifies the image approximately 2,5 times so that it can be picked up by neighbouring, unaffected parts of the retina (which usually are responsible for peripheral sight). This means the patient gets a clear, magnified image on the implanted eye, and has to use the other eye for peripheral sight, which is a skill that has to be learned first. Still, this means that it gives people back the abilities to read, watch TV, and recognize faces – all skills that are nearly impossible for someone suffering from an advanced case of the disorder.
On the website of VisionCare you can find more pictures and a promo-video explaining the disease and the device in detail.
Despite the futuristic ring of the title “Intraocular Telescope”, we’re basically talking about a glorified magnifying-glass here. It is not yet a very sophisticated device, even though it is quite a technological feat and a great step in medicine. It’s a huge help to millions of people suffering from age-related blindness. What I find most interesting about this are the possibilities it is likely to provide in near future, namely enhancing the abilities of healthy human eyes.