Dr. Sumit "Sam" Garg, cornea surgeon at UC Irvine Health's Gavin
Herbert Eye Institute successfully implanted a tiny telescope in a
patient's eye with end-stage macular degeneration (AMD). The first
Orange County patient received a telescope implant late last year by
fellow cornea surgeon Dr. Marjan Farid. The Gavin Herbert Eye
Institute at UC Irvine is the only academic institution in Southern
California currently implanting the mini telescope for end-stage
"Through our participation in the clinical trials, we know the impact
the telescope technology can have on a patient's life. We are excited
to finally be able to offer this technology on a broader basis and to
be one of the first provider teams in the area to help these patients
improve their vision and achieve a greater quality of life," says Dr.
Garg, cornea surgeon at UC Irvine Medical Center and Vice Chair of
Clinical Ophthalmology at The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, who
performed the most recent surgery on a 94-year old patient.
The first-of-kind telescope implant is integral to
a new patient care program for treating patients with end-stage
age-related macular degeneration, the most advanced form of AMD and
the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. The FDA approved
implant is the only medical/surgical option that improves visual
acuity by reducing the impact of the central vision blind spot caused
by end-stage AMD. The cost is covered by Medicare.
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses micro-optical
technology to magnify images which would normally be seen in one's
"straight ahead" or central, vision. The images are projected onto the
healthy portion of the retina not affected by the disease, making it
possible for patients to see or discern the central vision object of
Patients with end-stage AMD have a central blind spot. This vision
loss makes it difficult or impossible to see faces, read, and perform
everyday activities such as watching TV, preparing meals, and
self-care. The telescope implant has been demonstrated in clinical
trials to improve quality of life by improving patients' vision so
they can see the things that are important to them, increase their
independence, and re-engage in everyday activities. It also may help
patients in social settings as it may allow them to recognize faces
and see the facial expressions of family and friends.
The CentraSight treatment
is generally coordinated by retina specialists who treat macular
degeneration and other back-of-the-eye disorders. The treatment
program focuses on comprehensive patient care, requiring prospective
patients to undergo medical, visual, and functional evaluation to
determine if they may be a good candidate. A unique aspect of the
evaluation is the ability to simulate, prior to surgery, what a person
may expect to see once the telescope is implanted to determine if the
possible improvement will meet the patient's expectations.
Post-implantation, the patient will learn how to use their new vision
in everyday activities by working with a low-vision therapy
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications
exist with the telescope implant. Possible side effects include
decreased vision or vision impairing corneal swelling. The risks and
benefits associated with the telescope implant are discussed in the
Patient Information Booklet available at
Patients and physicians can find more information about the telescope
implant and related treatment program at
or by calling 1-877-99SIGHT.
About CentraSightCentraSight is the first-ever 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 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.
About The Gavin Herbert Eye InstituteAt UC Irvine Health's Gavin
and Department of Ophthalmology, our faculty of internationally
recognized physicians, surgeons and scientists provide highly
specialized training to future ophthalmologists, access to
leading-edge clinical trials as well as sight-saving treatments and
therapies for virtually any eye disorder.
Eye surgeons, stem cell researchers, geneticists, infectious disease
specialists and engineers are working on technologies and treatments
for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, corneal
disease and cataracts as well as a vaccine to prevent eye and genital
herpes infections. These efforts have vaulted UC Irvine School of
Medicine into the top echelons of U.S. institutions receiving National
Institutes of Health grants for vision research.
About the University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research,
scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake
since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University
of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate
students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County's
second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of
$4 billion. For more UCI news, visit