Bionic vision: Telescope implant helps Norway woman gain sight
By SHERRYL PETERS
The Times and Democrat
January 06, 2013
NORWAY — Remember “The Six Million Dollar Man”? The 1970s television show centered around a man who had been terribly injured, and the government repaired his body using bionic parts so that he had superhuman characteristics. He could run faster than most vehicles and jump higher than anyone else. An eye implant allowed him to focus on items far away. When he needed to look at something in the distance, he concentrated and the telescope implant in his eye would focus on the object.
Like “The Six Million Dollar Man,” Betty Smith of Norway has gained a new view of the world, becoming the second person in South Carolina to receive a pea-sized telescope implant in her eye. Smith said she is “overjoyed” at the promise it brings.
“I am a former teacher, and not being able to read is a horrible thing,” Smith said. “You don’t realize how much you depend on your eyes until they no longer function like they should.”
The implantable miniature telescope, part of VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies’ CentraSight treatment program for end-stage age-related macular degeneration, was placed in Smith’s right eye, and will allow her to see details in everyday life and objects or people in the distance. Her left eye will remain the same, helping with her peripheral vision, mobility and balance. Smith’s brain is being trained to allow the eyes to work together again in the automatic function of focusing.