July 8, 2010
Statement from the American Academy of Ophthalmology regarding FDA-Approved Implantable Miniature Telescope for End-Stage Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients
The newly FDA-approved Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) has the potential to improve the quality of life for a select subset of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This group includes people aged 75 years and older who have stable, severe to profound vision impairment in both eyes due to end-stage AMD. Also, to be eligible for the IMT, patients cannot have had surgery to remove cataracts. Several steps should be taken before an IMT is implanted. First, patients need to receive testing with an external telescope that simulates the effect of an IMT to learn whether vision improvement would be possible and whether peripheral vision in the eye that would not have the IMT would be adequate for the patient's needs. Also, patients need to be fully informed of the risks of the procedure–most importantly the risk of corneal endothelial cell loss which may cause long term problems with corneal clarity. After surgery patients need to undergo rehabilitative vision training with a low-vision specialist to help them attain their best possible vision.
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