Zion Eye Institute telescope implant macular degeneration
Photo by Chad Miller / CC BY-SA 2.0

Dr. Jayson Edwards, a cornea surgeon at the Zion Eye Institute in St. George, successfully implanted a tiny telescope into the eye of a patient with end-stage, age-related macular degeneration in late-June. It is the first successful operation of its kind in southern Utah.

The telescope implant has been demonstrated in clinical trials to improve quality of life by improving patients’ vision. 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.

Patients with end-stage, age-related macular degeneration have a central blind spot. This vision loss makes it difficult—or sometimes even impossible—to see faces, read, and perform everyday activities such as watching TV, preparing meals, and self-care. 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 magnified and 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.

The Zion Eye Institute is the only facility in southern Utah currently implanting the mini telescope for end-stage age-related macular degeneration. The FDA-approved implant is the only medical or surgical option that improves visual acuity by reducing the impact of the central vision blind spot caused by end-stage age-related macular degeneration. The cost is covered by Medicare.

Zion Eye Institute has fellowship-trained specialists to cover every area of eye care and eye surgery, including custom LASIK, ICL, cataract, glaucoma, cornea, retina, pediatric, and cosmetic eyelid surgery. The institute serves the southern Utah area, including St. George, Santa Clara, and Cedar City as well as Mesquite. The state-of-the-art facility is southern Utah’s largest and most comprehensive eye surgery center. For more information, please visit dixieos.com or call (877) 841-2020.