Macular degeneration is one of the most frustrating ways to lose your sight, because while your peripheral vision usually remains good, looking straight ahead you typically see nothing but an inky void. This tiny implantable telescope fixes the problem, by refocusing your central vision away from the damaged part of the retina onto other areas that can still see well.
We first saw this device a few years ago when it was still in the development stage, but now the implant has been approved by the FDA and the first recipients are reporting spectacular results.
Doctors implant the telescope in just one eye, so the patient then uses the untreated eye for peripheral vision and the telescope-equipped eye for their central vision. A short period of retraining is needed to get used to this new approach, but patients report that the resulting vision improvements give them a new lease on life.
The eye telescope was developed by VisionCare in California, and so far 50 patients have received the implant. The FDA approved the device for patients over age 75 with what's called stable "dry" end stage macular degeneration, which accounts for about 500,000 new cases each year. The procedure costs upwards of $15,000, but is approved by Medicare.
Unfortunately it doesn't appear to make those cool refocusing sounds like the Terminator's artificial eyes.