Carondelet Health Network is proud to announce that a Tucson patient has received the first-ever FDA-approved Implantable Miniature Telescope procedure indicated to improve vision in patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This first patient was evaluated by and received the telescope implant procedure from ophthalmologist and retinal specialist Henry L. Hudson, M.D., and Kristin Carter, M.D., anterior segment eye surgeon, both part of the CentraSight™ provider team in Tucson, Ariz. The procedure was performed on an outpatient basis at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Regional Eye Center.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disorder of the central retina, or macula, which is responsible for detailed vision that controls important functional visual activities like recognizing faces and watching television. The National Eye Institute estimates that over 1.7 million Americans over age 50 suffer vision loss from advanced AMD, which frequently culminates as end-stage AMD (visual impairment due to untreatable advanced AMD in both eyes). These patients often experience a loss of independence and social isolation, and have difficulty with activities of daily living. The telescope implant is designed to improve visual acuity. Smaller than a pea, the telescope is implanted in one eye in an outpatient surgical procedure. In the implanted eye, the device renders enlarged central vision images over a wide area of the retina to improve central vision, while the non-operated eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and orientation. The magnification provided by the implant reduces the impact of the blind spot caused by end-stage AMD.

“Our patient’s procedure is a milestone that brings new hope and a first treatment option for our most visually debilitated AMD patients,” said Dr. Hudson, who was a principal investigator in the pivotal trial for FDA approval and lead author of the trial outcomes publications. “Patients with end-stage AMD have been underserved, and they have had limited options until now. Our patients who have exhausted all wet AMD treatment options, or who have the untreatable, advanced form of dry AMD, now have a potential for improved vision and quality of life. We’re talking more than just seeing better on the eye chart, but about being more independent in their daily activities and reconnecting with their social network of friends, family, and their community.”

“It is really wonderful that the telescope implant is now available,” said Dr. Carter, also a clinical investigator during the pivotal trial. “Implanting this micro-optical device so patients can regain many of the visual-related activities they were no longer able to do after losing their central vision can be life-changing for the patient, and is gratifying to me as a surgeon.“

“We are excited to be working with the ophthalmic community to bring the implantable telescope technology to eligible AMD patients living with central blindness,” said Allen W. Hill, CEO of VisionCare. “We are grateful to the clinical trial investigators who demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the treatment, and the scientists, our employees, and the array of organizations who have helped bring this treatment to market.”

Results from the two U.S. clinical trials, conducted at 28 leading ophthalmic centers, have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, and Archives of Ophthalmology. Most recently, in September’s issue of Ophthalmology, a study reports the intraocular telescope improves quality of life and is cost effective.

The risks and benefits associated with the telescope implant are discussed in the Patient Information Booklet available at www.CentraSight.com.

About Carondelet Health Network
Located in Tucson, Arizona, Carondelet Health Network is a Catholic, nonprofit healthcare system dedicated to responding to the health, prevention, education and wellness needs of Southern Arizonans. Carondelet was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet 131 years ago. Carondelet’s Tucson facilities include St. Mary's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute and Carondelet Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and in Nogales, Arizona, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital. Carondelet family of services also include nearly 20 primary and specialty care offices, an ambulatory surgery center, four imaging centers, Hospice and Palliative Care, and a variety of other outpatient services. Carondelet Health Network is a ministry of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic, non-profit healthcare system. In Fiscal Year 2010, Carondelet provided nearly $50 million (8.3 percent of its net revenue) in Community Benefit to improve the health of our community and increase access to healthcare. More information about Carondelet Health Network is available at www.carondelet.org.

About VisionCare
VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Saratoga, CA, is a privately-held company focused on development, manufacturing, and marketing of implantable ophthalmic devices and technologies that are intended to significantly improve vision and quality of life for individuals with untreatable retinal disorders. The company's R&D and manufacturing facility is located in Petah Tikva, Israel. VisionCare's investors include Saints Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Three Arch Partners, Onset Ventures, Giza Venture Capital, BSI/Generali, and Infinity Private Equity Fund. VisionCare's Implantable Miniature Telescope was invented by company founders Yossi Gross and Isaac Lipshitz. Information on VisionCare can be found at www.visioncareinc.net.