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New device helps those over 55 with fading eyesight

6:41 PM, Jan 1, 2013   |    comments
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Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 55. For those with end stage disease, there has been virtually no chance of seeing what is directly in front of them again.

Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins shows us how a new device -- an implantable telescope -- is changing that.

Joann Zorn now has a critical part of her vision back and it's all thanks to a brand new twinkle in her eye.

There is a tiny telescope implanted in her left eye.

It has brought back the central vision she lost to macular degeneration.

The area that allows for central vision to watch TV, read a book, drive a car, is called the macula. When that macula is destroyed by an age-related process, there's essentially a hole in people's vision.

When implanted, the telescope, by Centrasight, magnifies central vision tremendously. So while there is still a blind spot, patients see much more of what is directly ahead of them.

It does take months of rehabilitation to learn to use each eye differently.

Opthamologist Dr. Stephen Lane said, "The non-telescope eye basically sees things in the periphery and the telescope eye sees things centrally."

Zorn now has the hang of it. The gal who once broke her kneecap because she couldn't seethe stairs now has a spring in her step.

Zorn said, "See, I can walk along and do this, and this," as she walked ahead.

That's all thanks to that new twinkle in her eye.


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