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'Miniature Telescope' for Eye Approved for Macular Degeneration

Implanted device replaces eye's natural lens

TUESDAY, July 6, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- A tiny telescope that's implanted in an eye affected by advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Implantable Miniature Telescope replaces the natural lens and magnifies an image more than two times, the FDA said in a news release.

The device is meant for people aged 75 and older who have blind spots associated with end-stage AMD. Candidates will be trained with an external telescopic device to see if they may benefit from the implanted product, the agency said.

AMD damages the eye's macula, causing vision loss in the center of the visual field. The condition affects mostly older people, often making it impossible to recognize faces or perform tasks such as watching television, the FDA said. Some 8 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition, and about 25 percent of those are significantly visually impaired.

The FDA said it's requiring the labeling to warn that the device puts users at greater risk of injury to the eye's cornea.

As a condition of approval, California-based VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies will conduct two follow-up studies of the device, the agency said.

More information

To learn more about AMD, visit the U.S. National Eye Institute.

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