A tiny ‘telescope’ or implant in the eye, fitted in less than 30 minutes, is set to revolutionise the lives of many over-60s as it offers a massive improvement in treatment options for the ‘dry’ form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD is a degenerative condition of the centre of the retina associated with ageing. It is the most common cause of blindness in people over 60 years in the UK and usually affects both eyes.
The new IOL Revolution lens offers a significant improvement to the central vision of those suffering from both the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ forms of AMD.
Wet AMD has been treatable for some years with injections, but these have not been effective in those suffering from dry AMD. Previous treatment options have been through implants that offer limited improvements in vision, especially as the disease progresses. Dry AMD is caused by an accumulation of waste products from the light-sensitive cells of the retina, causing a gradual degeneration of vision. Until now it has been untreatable.
The new implant procedure to fit the IOL-Revolution involves two small lenses being inserted into the eye, which together act like a miniature telescope, slightly magnifying the image seen by the eye and moving it to a healthier part of the retina. The healthy retina takes over the role of the macula and can give significantly improved vision.
Implanting the IOL-Revolution Lens takes approximately 30 minutes and does not require an overnight stay in hospital. Recipients are given simple exercises to undertake after the operation to help reinforce the improvement achieved. Both eyes are treated separately, usually 2–3 weeks apart.
If the AMD progresses in the years following the implant, the lens can be easily rotated to move the image to a healthier part of the retina. An earlier generation of IOL lenses were used to treat a range of other conditions such as macular holes, myopic degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and hereditary retinal diseases. These lenses carried a small risk of corneal damage or developing glaucoma, but the new IOL-Revolution is much safer as it is implanted within the capsular bag in the eye, away from the cornea.