Help For Macular Degeneration - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Help For Macular Degeneration

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Wendy Damonte
Channel 2 News

For years George Klotz had to rely on his wife, Liz, for most everything because he was legally blind. He lost his vision to a disease called macular degeneration which attacks central vision, reducing normal sight. 

As part of a clinical trial, George had a tiny telescope implanted in the eye with the worst vision. The telescope magnifies vision in one eye while the other is left to give peripheral vision. Dr Barry Kupperman is a professor of ophthalmology at University of California, Irvine.  "It is not the same as 20/20 vision that is typically going to end up in driving vision but it does help improve the quality of their lives significantly."

While 15 million Americans have macular degeneration, doctors warn the telescope isn't for everyone. Some people just can't adjust to it and you can't get an implant if you've had cataract surgery. It worked for George. He remembers the first meal after surgery. "That's the first time I could see my wife and all three daughters across the table after having the telescope put in. You think I wasn't happy?"

The company that makes the implant has applied for Medicare coverage. Right now the telescope alone costs $15,000 not including the surgery and after care.

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