Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT)
Accounts of Personal Experiences
My sister has been blind from AMD for over 10 years. She has had a miniature implanted telescope for some time now – I think 5 or 6 years at least. Here is a quote replying to my question about it:
“Yes, I have an implanted miniature telescope in my right eye. I have heard that some people with the telescope can actually drive, but my sight was too far gone for that kind of improvement. I can read with the close circuit device I have, but I use my other eye. The telescope eye is too blurry except at just the right distance and under just the right light. I can see tv better with the telescope at night. I can see colors better with the telescope, like sunsets or the red rocks in Sedona.”
December 14, 2016
The only thing that hurt due to the surgery was the nurse trying to get the IV in my hand. She had to try in both hands before she got a hit. I was awake for the entire procedure. It took about 30 minutes to complete. My right eye was draped, but I could see the procedure from my left eye. That is the one they put the IMT in.
I now have a large patch over the left eye and cannot take it off until tomorrow morning. I then go to the doctor to see how it went. I was surprised that the nurses had not seen the procedure yet. I thought that the procedure was more common. They all want to know how it goes. The surgery was done at Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis.
December 21, 2016
Well, it’s been about 10 days since the IMT has been put in my left eye. Things are progressing, but the eye is still pretty sore. It feels irritated, and I am told that is from the stitches that were put in my eye. It feels like there is sand in my eye.
Vision is cloudy at best. But I do see the television, because of the contrasting colors. My 60 inch TV seems to be about 820 inch TV when I can see it.
I do have to wear a plastic covering over the eye at night and that’s a little uncomfortable. I get five different drops in the eye anywhere from every two hours to once a day, depending upon the drop. On Monday I had a treatment in my right eye, so Monday wasn’t a good day. The left eye is very susceptible to bright lights, and living in Minnesota with the snow and the sun shining, it gets pretty bright. Sunglasses are a must.
I go to the therapist next week to start learning how to use the telescope. I go back to the surgeon in about two weeks.
January 10, 2017
The IMT is doing better. The soreness is about gone, and I am down to 3 different drops. I have seen the surgeon twice, and he is pleased with the healing process. I have visited the vision rehabilitation person twice, including today’s visit.
We work on locating objects and letters with the IMT. We also work on tracking with the IMT. She says that I will learn to be bi-ocular, meaning that I will use my eyes independently: the IMT for distance and reading, and the other eye for moving around. I think that is down the road a bit. She is working with another person with an IMT that has accomplished this after a few months. If you are considering this procedure, I encourage you to start the process now, because it takes about 6 months to actually get to the surgery date.
I am seeing through the IMT. It is still cloudy, but this should clear now that I am off dilating drops. I can see the news on TV, but action programs are hard to follow. As I type this, I am seeing it larger just below the line I am typing.
January 10, 2018
Well, it has been a year since the IMT was placed in my left eye. It is supposed to increase what I see with that eye by 3X, and it does. I have been back to the doctor 4 times, and he set the next time for 2 years from now.
As for the IMT, it is working okay. It is still not as clear as my right eye. I have 20/1000 vision in my right eye and, using the telescope, have 20/500 in my left eye. I thought maybe I would be able to read large print books, but that is not the case. The vision is cloudier in the left eye, and the AMD in that eye doesn’t help. I have both wet and dry AMD in both eyes. The left has been dry for a few years, but the right eye is still getting shots once a month.
The IMT has limited the scanning of the left eye for diagnostic purposes. I don’t think they can take pictures either. Dr. Dev said he will be able to treat the eye if necessary.
This has surely been a journey that I do not know if I would take again.