New Surgery Offers Hope for Patients With Age-Related Macular Degeneration

New surgery at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion helps patients with age-related macular degeneration.
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses micro-optics to improve vision for people with end-stage AMD.

A new surgical procedure at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion offers hope for patients with end-stage, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.

During the procedure, a miniature telescope is implanted into the patient's eyes, restoring a portion of their vision. Dr. John Bokosky, a board-certified ophthalmologist affiliated with Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, is one of only a few surgeons nationwide who are trained in the CentraSight treatment program that includes the surgery. The procedure is offered nowhere else in San Diego.

At least 15 million Americans are affected by some form of AMD, which causes cells in the retina to stop converting absorbed light into the electro-chemical signals that the brain recognizes as images. When the light-sensing cells are damaged, the brain does not receive enough information to create a clear image.

The telescope device, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010, is the only surgical option available to patients with AMD. Sometimes called a "bionic eye," the implant is smaller than a pea. It projects magnified images onto the portion of a patient's retina not affected by AMD, making it possible for patients to see people and objects in front of them.

Dr. Bokosky is currently screening patients for the implant. To be considered a potential candidate, patients must meet age, vision and cornea health requirements. Physicians must also confirm that patients have AMD and are suitable for surgery. The implant cost is covered by Medicare.

For More Information
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for San Diego ophthalmologists or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To learn more about our vision services, contact Sharp's Vision Laser Center at 858-939-5085.