Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the eye that affects the central retina, or macula, located in the back of the eye. There are two forms of AMD: the “wet” form and the “dry” form, leading to various levels of vision loss. The “wet” form of the disease can cause fluid and blood to leak onto the macula. In the “dry” form, the macula breaks down without any leakage of fluid. Both forms cause the macula to degenerate and can lead to scar-stage AMD in which there is significant permanent central vision loss.
AMD affects a part of the eye called the macula. The macula is the most important part of the retina. It is responsible for normal, “straight-ahead” detailed vision. The macula makes it possible to see well enough to perform everyday tasks such as reading, watching television, recognizing faces and colors, seeing objects in detail, and safely walking up the stairs. AMD damages the macula and, over time, scarring and/or fluids creates a “blind spot” in central vision, which can make it difficult or impossible to see what is in central vision.
Smaller than a pea, the IMT is a tiny telescopic device that is placed inside the eye by an eye surgeon. The telescope functions like a telephoto lens of a camera. Once implanted inside the eye, it magnifies images onto the retina to help improve vision. It is only implanted in one eye. The other eye is left “as is” to preserve peripheral (side) vision, which is vital for balance and orientation. People who receive the IMT re-train their brains to understand their vision, using the IMT in dynamic (moving) and stationary situations.
The IMT is FDA approved for people 65+ who have progressed to End-Stage AMD in both eyes, meaning that their central vision is blocked. Candidates for the IMT must meet other important health and eye health requirements.
The telescope is virtually unnoticeable to others because it is implanted entirely inside the eye, and mostly covered by the colored portion of the eye (iris). Up close, a person may see a faint glint in the eye.
Most regional Medicare contractors have established coverage policies for the FDA-approved IMT. We have reimbursement specialists to assist health providers and their patients through the Medicare reimbursement process.