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Rewriting Life

Implantable Telescope

An implantable mini-telescope could help restore visual acuity to people with macular degeneration, a progressive disease that affects the center of the retina. The device, which is smaller than a pencil eraser and can be implanted during an outpatient procedure, works a bit like a telephoto lens in a camera: it enlarges the image that falls onto the retina so that it extends beyond the damaged area. In human studies, 60 percent of patients could read at least three lines further on an eye chart after the telescope was implanted. The device is approved for use in Europe, and an advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has unanimously recommended approval.

Credit: Kevin Twomey

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