Mini-telescope eye implant
When implanted in the eye, mini-telescopes like this one could help aging individuals with macular degeneration, a disorder of the retina affecting more than 1.75 million people in the United States alone. The implant was a huge help for two thirds of more than 200 patients who participated in a recent clinical trial. The developers of the technology, VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, hope that FDA approval for the mini-scope is imminent. From Scientific American:
The implantable mini-scope… works with the eye’s cornea like a telephoto system, rendering an enlarged retinal image designed to reduce the area of diminished vision. Once implanted, the device protrudes 0.1 to 0.5 millimeter beyond the surface of the pupil but does not touch the corneal endothelium, a layer of cells lining the back of the cornea.
This is not an easy fix, however, and surgeons are developing special techniques to properly and swiftly implant the device without damaging the eye. The device is a compound telescope system that consists of a glass cylinder that is 4.4 millimeters in length and 3.6 millimeters in diameter and houses wide-angle micro-optics.