For the first time in the UK, ophthalmologists at Spire Dunedin in Reading have successfully performed a new type of telescope implant procedure for patients with macular degeneration. The first-of-its -kind tiny telescope is integral to CentraSight® (en.CentraSight.com), a new patient care programme for treating patients with end-stage macular degeneration (AMD), the UK’s leading cause of blindness. The implant is the only surgical or medical option that is both FDA-approved and CE-marked for end-stage AMD. The technology has been clinically proven to improve visual acuity by reducing the impact of the central vision blind spot caused by end-stage AMD.
The first patient to receive the world’s smallest telescopic eye implant in the UK was successfully operated on by Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Ahmed El-Amir in March 2013.
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses fully encapsulated micro-optical technology to magnify images that would normally be seen in one’s “straight ahead” or central vision. The images are projected onto the healthy portion of the retina – the area at the back of the eye affected by AMD – making it possible for patients to see or discern the central vision object of interest.
Patients with end-stage AMD have impaired central vision, a central blind spot. This vision loss always makes it very difficult to see faces, read and perform everyday activities such as watching TV, preparing meals, and self-care. The telescope implant has been demonstrated in clinical trials2 to improve quality of life by improving patients’ vision so they can see the things that are important to them, increase their independence, and re-engage in everyday activities. It also may help patients in social settings as it may allow them to recognise faces and see the facial expressions of family and friends.
Mr El-Amir says: “I am very pleased to be able to offer Spire patients in Berkshire and the Home Counties this revolutionary treatment which has brought fresh hope to many patients already successfully treated in the US.
“Losing your central vision can be an absolutely devastating blow for patients who are often deeply frightened by the prospect of only being able to use the corner of their eyes to see. Whilst this is not a cure for end-stage AMD, I feel confident that CentraSight® makes a major contribution to helping suitable end-stage AMD patients with the untreatable dry or previously wet forms of the disease. This helps them to live the rest of their lives with as much independence and the best quality of life possible.”
The CentraSight® treatment programme is generally coordinated by retina specialist ophthalmologists who treat macular degeneration and other back-of-the-eye disorders. The treatment programme focuses on comprehensive patient care, requiring prospective patients to undergo thorough medical and vision evaluation to determine whether the patient may be a good candidate.
A unique aspect of the evaluation is the ability to simulate, prior to surgery, whether the patient may expect to see once the telescope is implanted to determine if the improvement will meet the patient’s expectations.
The treatment is available to patients aged over 55 with advanced, stabilised end-stage AMD which is no longer responsive to drug treatment in both eyes and who have adequate peripheral vision in one eye to allow them to navigate independently. These patients also need to achieve a five-letter improvement on the eye chart using an external telescope and agree to participate in post-operative rehabilitation sessions. The telescope is ideally suited for patients who have not had cataract surgery – but those who have had cataract removal in one eye may be eligible.
CentraSight® is a clinical programme that is very carefully targeted only to suitable patients who will gain visual acuity from the procedure. It is not a cure for end-stage AMD, but effectively allows patients to use the undamaged parts of their retina to be able to see or discern objects in their central vision once again. Patients should discuss the benefits and risks associated with the telescope implant surgery with their doctor to determine if this treatment is right for them.
The procedure typically takes about an hour and is performed as an outpatient operation. A period of rehabilitation of six to 12 weeks follows after the surgery where the patient will need to work with vision specialists to learn how to use their new vision in everyday activities.
Patients and physicians can find more information about the telescope implant and CentraSight® treatment programme at en.CentraSight.com or by calling the patient helpline number on 0800 002 9998.