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Telescope Implant for End Stage Macular Degeneration Now Available Across the Nation
Date:6/8/2012

SARATOGA, Calif., June 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., developer of the first FDA-approved ophthalmic telescope implant indicated to improve vision in patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), announced today the expansion of its CentraSight™ provider teams nationwide.  VisionCare's telescope implant is integral to the CentraSight treatment program (www.CentraSight.com), which helps patients follow the steps necessary for proper diagnosis, surgical evaluation and postoperative care.  The telescope implant improves visual acuity and quality of life for those living with the most severe form of AMD and can help seniors become more independent and re-engage in everyday activities.

"Medicare patients who cannot be helped by available AMD therapies now have hope for improved vision and quality of life," said Henry L. Hudson, M.D, who was a principal investigator in the pivotal trial for FDA approval and lead author of VisionCare's FDA clinical trial outcomes publications. "For decades ophthalmologists had no answers for these patients.  We are excited that the telescope implant is now available to this underserved patient population and to be the first provider team in our state to provide this to a Medicare patient."

Medicare provides coverage to patients in states across the country for eligible beneficiaries with the most advanced form of age-related macular degeneration – end-stage AMD. The eye disease is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and legal blindness in older Americans. Patients with end-stage AMD have central blindness in both eyes that is uncorrectable by glasses, drugs or cataract surgery.

"The ability to provide a vital range of vision by implanting the telescope technology made a tremendous impact on my patients who were bilaterally blind from macular degeneration," said Kathryn Colby, M.D., Ph.D.  "Implanting a telescope into the eye sounds like science fiction, but it is actually something we can do today as an outpatient procedure that many of the clinical trials patients found to be life changing."

VisionCare launched the CentraSight treatment program in October 2011 and is rapidly expanding provider team locations across the country to make this new option available to qualifying patients. Provider teams are comprised of multidisciplinary healthcare specialists trained in patient evaluation, surgical treatment and visual rehabilitation. Over 30 regional treatment teams in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Honolulu, Atlanta, Denver, New York, Boston, Tucson, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis and Charlotte are now accepting and actively screening patients to determine eligibility. To be considered a potential candidate for the telescope implant, patients must meet age, vision and cornea health requirements. To learn more about the telescope implant, CentraSight treatment program and locate a provider team, patients and physicians can call 1-877-99SIGHT or visit www.CentraSight.com.

More than 15 million Americans are affected by some form of AMD and the number of Americans afflicted with macular degeneration is expected to double by the year 2050 with the rapid aging of the U.S. population. Those patients who progress to the end-stage form of AMD have a central blind spot that makes it difficult or impossible for patients 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 visual acuity and associated quality of life. Depending on the level of visual acuity improvement, 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 telescope implant is not a cure for end-stage AMD. 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 www.CentraSight.com.

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 interest.

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. Most recently, in the September 2011 issue of Ophthalmology, a study reports the intraocular telescope improves quality of life and is cost effective.

Patients and physicians can find more information about the telescope implant and related treatment program at www.CentraSight.com or by calling 1-877-99SIGHT. 

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 www.CentraSight.com or by calling 1-877-99SIGHT. 

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.

About VisionCare

VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Saratoga, CA, is a privately-held company focused on development, manufacturing, and marketing of implantable ophthalmic devices and technologies that are intended to significantly improve vision and quality of life for individuals with untreatable retinal disorders. VisionCare's Implantable Miniature Telescope was invented by company founders Yossi Gross and Isaac Lipshitz. Information on VisionCare can be found at www.visioncareinc.net.


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SOURCE VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc.
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