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2-6-14 New Procedure at Loma Linda University Medical Center allows Moreno Valley, Calif. man to regain sight
by Herbert Atienza, Media Relations Specialist
Loma Linda University Health
|Roy Kennedy, 77, of Moreno Valley, Calif., works with Emily Rice, occupational therapist at Loma Linda University Medical Center, on reading exercises to help him get used to a new miniature telescope that was implanted into his eye.
A few weeks after having been implanted with the miniature telescope in his right eye, the 77-year old Moreno Valley, Calif. resident, who had suffered from end-stage macular degeneration (AMD), has no regrets.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done; it has allowed me to come out of a shell I’ve created for myself because of my lack of eyesight,” said Kennedy, a retired educator from Banning School District, whose surgery was performed by renowned eye surgeon Dr. Howard Gimbel.
Loma Linda University Medical Center is the first hospital in the Inland Empire to implant the telescope implant for patients with AMD, the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. The FDA approved telescope implant is the main feature of CentraSight, a new patient care program for treating patients with AMD. The first-of-its-kind telescope implant is believed to be the only surgical option that improves vision by reducing the impact of the central vision blind spot caused by AMD. The cost for the telescope implant and visits associated with the treatment are Medicare eligible.
Patients with AMD suffer from a central blind spot, meaning they have difficulty seeing when they look “straight ahead.” Patients often have difficulty or find it impossible to recognize faces, read the newspapers, or watch TV.
The telescope implant, which is slightly smaller than a pea, uses micro-optical technology to magnify images that can be seen by central vision. The images are projected onto the healthy portion of the retina not affected by the disease.
“For people who have severe difficulty seeing anything that they are looking at directly, as when reading, any improvement in their eyesight makes a big difference in their quality of life,” Dr. Gimbel said.
He said the procedure is not for everyone, and there are strict criteria for candidates, including that patients must not have had cataract surgery.
Dr. Michael Rauser, Vice-Chair and Associate Residency Program Director of the Loma Linda University Department of Ophthalmology, said the addition of the implantable miniature telescope as a treatment for patients with stable, advanced age-related macular degeneration, is an important new therapy for patients suffering from end-stage macular degeneration.
“Loma Linda University Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology strives to be a Center of Excellence for the Inland Empire, and the local availability of the implantable miniature telescope is another example of this philosophy,” Dr. Rauser said. “Instead of a standard intraocular lens, a miniature telescope is inserted into the eye after cataract removal. This provides improved distance visual acuity, while minimizing the loss of peripheral vision that is associated with the use of external telescopes.”
Since having the procedure done in the fall, Kennedy has been working with therapists at Loma Linda University Medical Center, who are especially trained to help low-vision patients, to help him get used to going about his daily life with the telescope implant. He said he’s grateful for the little things that people with good vision often take for granted.
“Before, when I went to the grocery store, all I did was push the cart,” he said. “Now, I can go to the store pick out the items that I like.”
About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."
CentraSight is the first-ever treatment program utilizing a tiny telescope implant for end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most advanced form of AMD and the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. Patients with end-stage AMD have a central blind spot or missing area in their vision that makes it difficult or impossible to see faces, read, and perform everyday activities. The CentraSight Treatment Program allows patients to see details again by implanting a tiny telescope in the eye in an outpatient procedure, then coordinating with vision specialists to help the patient learn how to use their new vision for everyday activities. For more information visit www.CentraSight.com.