My New Vision: What itís like to see with the CentraSight Telescope Implant /
Iíve lived with my family in Schenectady, NY
(outside of Albany) for more than 50 years and I
love my home because itís within walking distance of
my grocery store, bank and church. But ten
years ago, my vision was severely impacted because
of age-related macular degeneration. My children,
especially my daughter Linda who lives close by, had
to help me so much because I just couldnít see.
For example, they had to drive me to the doctor and
on errands. I needed help shopping because I
couldnít read labels. After a while, it was
very depressing. I started to avoid social
situations, like at family parties and church
events, because I was embarrassed that I couldnít
recognize faces any longer. I felt terrible about
this. I sat and cried every now and then.
But then Linda discovered a treatment that I had
never heard of and went with me to ask my doctor
about it. It was called the telescope implant.
The device is very small (the size of a pea), and it
is implanted in one eye to restore vision. My
doctor explained that it works like a real telescope
in that it magnifies images, which reduces the blind
spot that blocked my straight-ahead vision. The
other eye does not get an implant because you need
to keep some peripheral vision to help with
orientation and balance. This sounded like science
fiction! But I wanted to see if it could help
me and decided to take a chance on the procedure.
Linda supported my decision and accompanied me to
the surgery (along with other members of my family).
I worked with an entire team of specialists,
which were part of a treatment program called
CentraSight. My retina doctor, cornea surgeon,
low vision optometrist and a low vision occupational
therapist all counseled me about what to expect from
the outpatient procedure, particularly afterwards.
For example, I learned there was a significant
amount of occupational therapy required to adjust
and become proficient at using my new vision.
I also was warned that my sight would not be like it
was in my youth, I wouldnít be able to do everything
I used to nor would I be able to see, differently,
the minute I opened my eyes.
I had my surgery in February 2013. The cost
for the telescope implant and visits associated with
the treatment program were covered by Medicare,
which was very helpful.
Thinking back, I was nervous on surgery day, but
shortly after the procedure, I was back with my
family and going out to dinner. The most
amazing part is that I was able to see my daughterís
face almost immediately, despite not expecting to
see anything right away. It was such a gift!
After the surgery, I worked with the low vision
specialists for about three months. Linda often
accompanied me to the appointments and then helped
me practice the exercises. The exercises varied
because you use different techniques to see things
when you are standing, sitting or moving around.
Having my familyís support was vital making me feel
good about my new vision, I have to say.
Itís been nearly two years since my surgery and I
am very happy, mostly because I can do so much more
now that I can see better. I can read, sew, do
canning and work in my garden. I can see the
crosswalks, which lets me walk to the grocery store
safely. But most importantly, I can see my
family and friends. Iím enjoying spending time
with the people I care about. I would
recommend that people learn more about the telescope
implant. There are CentraSight teams all over
the country. When you call 877-99-SIGHT or
CentraSight.com a trained CentraSight
Information Specialist will point you to the team
closest to your home and can even help schedule the
appointments for you. The telescope implant isnít
for everyone, but it can make such a difference in