Procedure aims to help those with macular degeneration

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 7:01 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

When a Metairie woman was losing her sight, she turned to the only doctor in the Gulf South, trained to use new technology to save her sight. It's the first procedure that can help people with macular degeneration.

At 85-years-old, Lorelei Cazaubon loves to read her digital books.

"Reading, I'm off in another world. You don't know all your problems. And day to day things, you have another life more or less," said Lorelei Cazaubon, who worked as a secretary until she was 79.  

But macular degeneration, where the center of the retina deteriorates, stole her central vision.

"You don't see as well to walk. You can't read the news paper. That's a given," said Cazaubon who used The Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans to help her function in daily life.

"The patient's vision slowly gets worse and worse. They'd  have greater difficulties recognizing faces. Patients can be very upset because they lose some of their independence. They're become reliant on their family for even tasks as simple as making a phone call, " explained Dr. Satya Reddy, and Ophthalmologist and cornea specialist at Louisiana Cornea Specialists in Covington.

But today, Lorelei no longer needs the glasses and magnifying glass and huge print to read. She is the first person in the state to get CentraSight's implantable telescope technology. In one hour in the Lakeview Regional Medical Center operating room in Covington, Dr. Reddy put the tiny device in one eye. It focuses images on her retina, wider than the damaged part.
 
Then she went through a few months of training for her brain to interpret her new way of seeing, one eye seeing center vision and the other untreated eye still seeing only the sides or peripheral vision.

And if you look very closely in Lorelei's left eye, you can see the implantable miniature telescope through her pupil.

She still can't drive, because the device is for near vision, not distance. But even so, this strong independent women who lost her husband in her 40s and raised three children on her own, has her independence back .

"Emotionally it was marvelous that I am still at home by myself," she said with a smile.
 
Right now, the implant is only FDA approved for people 75 and older, with dry macular degeneration, who have not had cataract surgery.
 
For more call Louisiana Cornea Specialists at 985-893-8290.
 
Or visit: www.LakeviewRegional.com or the makers of the implant: http://www.centrasight.com/

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