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Health News Florida

New Devices Help Visually Impaired See

mini telescop eye implant_0.jpg

For Floridians with the most advanced form of macular degeneration, a mini telescope implant could dramatically help their vision, but it’s only available at one hospital in the state.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital, which was a test site for the device, performed the first implantation of the device earlier this month, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. A neuro-ophthalmologist who was involved in the clinical trials implanted the device in an 81-year-old patient. Now, other doctors are looking to that patient to study the one-hour outpatient procedure, which could help millions of other people with vision problems, according to the Herald-Tribune. The total cost is around $19,000, most of which is covered by Medicare.

(see video of the procedure)

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a separate device designed to give limited vision to people who are blind, the New York Times reports. The integrated system includes an “artificial retina” that works with a camera that captures video and then sends that information to the brain so the patient can see outlines of shapes and shades of light and dark.  While there’s a lot of excitement about the new device, MedCity News takes a closer look at the hype.