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A New Device To Help Repair Vision Loss From Macular Degeneration

POSTED ON August 23, 2010

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Macular degeneration (AMD) was something I knew about before I entered the optical industry.  My grandfather has it and has personally been dealing with this life altering impairment for over a decade.  I first really understood my grandpa’s situation years ago when the family discussed buying a special reading machine for him as his vision was so poor that even the highest prescription of glasses could not help him see to read or enjoy sporting events on ...

Macular degeneration (AMD) was something I knew about before I entered the optical industry.  My grandfather has it and has personally been dealing with this life altering impairment for over a decade.  I first really understood my grandpa’s situation years ago when the family discussed buying a special reading machine for him as his vision was so poor that even the highest prescription of glasses could not help him see to read or enjoy sporting events on the television screen-his favorite pastime.

This was heartbreaking for him and our entire family as he struggled to recognize words on a page, street signs, and eventually even faces of his family and friends. According to Allaboutvision.com, 1.75 million American’s struggle alongside my grandfather with losing their vision from AMD as it is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for older American’s.  It affects those  55 and older as dark spots (new blood vessels) form in the middle of the visual field making vision very difficult.

For my grandfather, the projection screen making text large enough to read and buying eye glasses with strong prescription lenses have helped him see.  For other American’s with AMD treatments like my grandfather’s aren’t enough so that a new device mentioned in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star article, “Device may improve sight,” might be their answer for better vision.  An implantable telescope has been approved by the FDA to be placed in the eye to replace the lens and thus reading and recognizing faces becomes much easier.

Only one telescope is inserted in an eye so that those with the impairment have the remaining eye to help them with peripheral vision which this implant cannot provide.  Those with AMD can be treated with these visual implants by vision doctors at 14 locations across the nation.  This implant will aid vision and improve the lives of those affected with AMD but sadly it is not a cure so that those like my grandfather will still have to cope with the overall affects of losing their vision which is devastating.

Preventative methods like annual visits to an Indiana vision center and eye examinations by eye care doctors can help in the care of aging eyes prone to AMD.  Being patient with those losing their vision is important and I have become the “eyes” for my grandfather at family events as we make the most of this vision impairment.

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