The newly FDA-approved telescope will give hope to patients with end-stage Macular Degeneration.

Telescope Implant to be used to treat the leading cause of blindness in older Americans

Dr. Akamine Davidson is pleased to announce that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an Implantable Miniature Telescope to improve vision in patients with end-stage, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The first-of-its-kind telescope, the implant was developed by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz of VisionCare and is sure to be an integral part of new patient care referral programs for the patients of Dr. Akamine Davidson at her Riverside, California optometry practice. End-stage Macular Degeneration is the most advanced form of AMD in the U.S. and is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans and a specialty of Dr. Akamine Davidson.

“This is truly a breakthrough technology for AMD patients as their treatment options have been limited until now,” said Kathryn A. Colby, M.D., Ph.D., ophthalmic surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “The clinical results from the pivotal FDA trial have proven we can place this tiny telescope prosthesis inside the eye to help patients see better and, for some, even to levels at which they can recognize people and facial expressions that they could not before.”

“Despite the past decade of advancements in macular degeneration therapies, retina specialists still did not have a treatment for the many wet and dry AMD patients who progressed to end-stage disease,” said Julia A. Haller, M.D., Ophthalmologist-in-Chief of the Wills Eye Institute, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA. “Starting today, we can provide these patients with new hope.”

Results from the two U.S. clinical trials, conducted at 28 leading ophthalmic centers, have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, and Archives of Ophthalmology. The pivotal clinical trial showed that patients achieved clinically meaningful gains in visual acuity and quality of life with the telescope implant.

The telescope implant is designed to improve visual acuity. The magnification provided by the implant reduces the impact of the blind spot caused by end-stage AMD. Endstage-AMD causes severe to profound central vision loss in both eyes due to either wet AMD that has progressed to scarring of the macula despite drug treatments, or dry AMD that has progressed to geographic atrophy, the most advanced form of dry AMD.

“The telescope implant represents a new category of treatment for this severely visually impaired population,” said Allen W. Hill, CEO of VisionCare. “This approval is the culmination of years of scientific and clinical development. We are excited to now provide this new technology and related CentraSight treatment program to the ophthalmic community to help their patients with this devastating disease gain improved vision and quality of life. This day would not be possible without the steadfast commitment of our clinical investigators, employees, and venture capital investors.”

VisionCare will conduct a post-approval study to monitor patient outcomes under commercial conditions. The principal investigator of the study is Oliver D. Schein, M.D., M.P.H., Burton E. Grossman Professor of Ophthalmology at The Wilmer Eye Institute and Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. A second smaller study will follow clinical trial patients for an additional two years.

CentraSight Treatment Program
The first-of-kind telescope implant is integral to a new patient care program, CentraSight, for treating patients with end-stage macular degeneration. The CentraSight treatment program involves a patient management process and access to reimbursement resources for patients and physicians. The telescope implantation is performed by a specially trained ophthalmic surgeon as an outpatient procedure.

Patients and physicians can find more information about the telescope implant and related treatment program at

VisionCare is submitting an application to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services for a new code to establish Medicare beneficiary access to this implantation procedure.

About the Telescope Implant
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz) is indicated for monocular implantation to improve vision in patients greater than or equal to 75 years of age with stable severe to profound vision impairment (best-corrected distance visual acuity 20/160 to 20/800) caused by bilateral central scotomas (blind areas) associated with end-stage AMD. This level of visual impairment constitutes statutory (legal) blindness.

Smaller than a pea, the telescope is implanted in one eye in an outpatient surgical procedure. In the implanted eye, the device renders enlarged central vision images over a wide area of the retina to improve central vision, while the non-operated eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and orientation.

The risks and benefits associated with the telescope implant are discussed in the Patient Information Booklet available at

About End-Stage Macular Degeneration
AMD is a disorder of the central retina, or macula, which is responsible for detailed vision that controls important functional visual activities like recognizing faces and watching television. The National Eye Institute estimates that over 1.7 million Americans over age 50 suffer vision loss from advanced AMD, which frequently culminates as Endstage-AMD (visual impairment due to untreatable advanced AMD in both eyes). These patients often experience a loss of independence and social isolation, and have difficulty with activities of daily living. Approximately half of the individuals living with advanced AMD are affected in both eyes.

If you suspect that you may have age-related Macular Degeneration, call Dr. Akamine Davidson today to schedule an appointment today 951-784-2420. Her Riverside optometry office is comfortable. She and her staff members are friendly and knowledgeable. And her designer eyewear collection is impressive.


Macular Degeneration

August 9, 2010

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness.

Today’s blog topic covers the eye condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that causes vision loss due to damage to the retina. With an estimated 2.95 people being afflicted by advanced AMD by 2020, it is vital for patients to be screened and treated for this degenerative disease. Since it is the leading cause of blindness in the US, AMD cannot be ignored.


  • Blurred vision or a gradual loss of central vision
  • The appearance of drusen in your eyes, which is a yellowish or white accumulation of extracellular material
  • Trouble distinguishing between dark and light colors
  • Slow to have normal vision after being in bright light
  • Side or “peripheral” vision unaffected (though in rare cases, peripheral vision is affected by AMD.)

The disease is diagnosed as two different types, “dry” and “wet:”

  • The “dry” form of the disease is much more common and occurs where tissue deterioration in the macula is not accompanied by blood.  The deterioration of the retina is associated with the formation of small yellow deposits, known as drusen, under the macula. This phenomena leads to a thinning and drying out of the macula, causing the macula to lose its function (4). The amount of central vision loss is directly related to the location and amount of retinal thinning caused by the drusen.

  • Wet AMD is a complication of the dry form and results from fragile blood vessels beneath the macula and the retina. Blood and fluid leak out of these vessels, the reason for the “wet” designation. Wet AMD can progress rapidly, making prompt treatment and regular eye care appointments vital.

Treatments for AMD:

  • The focus for patients should be on preventing the onset of AMD as opposed to reversing the disease, since AMD is not 100% curable. Frequent exams with optometrists or retina specialists are the best option for identifying warning signs and establishing treatment options.
  • For dry macular, medical or surgical treatment options are not currently available. However, some studies have suggested that some vitamin supplements or diets that have high dosages of certain antibiotics can potentially slow the spread of dry AMD.
  • Injection treatments for wet AMD include Lucentis and Asvastin, two drugs that are injected directly into the eye. Don’t be alarmed; a very thin needle is used and the experience is not traumatic.
  • Other options include surgery and laser treatments. Your eye care doctors can advise you on available options available and associated risks.

Patients who visit the office of Dr. Akamine Davidson will experience a slower-paced exam, which is tailored for the needs of individuals who have limited vision issues such as AMD.

  • Usage of the Feinblooom Chart which features larger-sized numbers/letters and is intended to be set 10 feet from patients instead of at the more standard 20-feet distance.
  • Extra time is allowed for exams so patients are never rushed. This is especially important for those dealing with the frustrations associated with limited vision.
  • Trial frames are tried using various lenses, which allows for more natural viewing

As with many medical conditions, early diagnosis can make all the difference. While it is not curable, the progression of AMD can be slowed or stopped providing symptoms are caught early and proper treatment options are followed.

The office of Sandra Akamine Davidson is a full-service seven staff member facility located in Riverside California. Along with her associate Dr. Leanna Parisi, Dr. Akamine Davidson oversees a comprehensive eye care center, including eye examinations, LASIK consultations, retina photography and low vision evaluations. The office also features the latest in lenses and frames which include Transitions lenses and high-end frame designs including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ray-Ban. More information can be found at the office site at