Science Market Update

UCD Eye Center Celebrates Successful Telescopic Retinal Implant Biotech Procedure

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Wed, Nov 07, 2012

The Bionic Man has not arrived, and to our knowledge the military has not equipped any special agents with cyborg implants to boost their optical capabilities in the field. No, the news is both less and more exciting than those fantasy scenarios: people with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) now have the chance to see again. Surgeons and vision scientists at the University of California Davis Eye Center in Sacramento recently celebrated their first successful procedure with the new technology. The medical duo that performed the operation were Drs. Mark Mannis and Jennifer Li.

An 89-year-old woman with AMD, Virginia Bane, had all but lost her ability to identify objects directly in front of her, the area that is covered by the macula. Post-surgery at UCDMC, she is now relearning how to see with a revolutionary telescopic implant in her left eye, which magnifies objects 2-3 times using a two-mirror ocular lens and projects those images onto the still-functioning portion of the retina. With her left eye she now sees objects in front of her, and with her right eye she scans the periphery. With training, her brain will learn to synthesize those perspectives, giving her approximately normal vision.

The device is made by VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, who also manage the selection and rehabilitation phases of treatment through their CentraSight program. The technology was developed by Dr. Isaac Liphitz while at the University of Wisconsin.

Only a handful of eye centers in California and around the country are able to perform an advanced surgical procedure like this and offer the post-surgical therapy that is required to make full use of the device. UCD Eye Center is a comprehensive clinical, research, and education institution and fully integrated with the larger UC Davis Medical Center, with its main facility on the Sacramento Campus (and a new facility in the works). In fact, in a bid to become one of the world's leading vision research centers, the Eye Center is highly interdisciplinary, with faculty working with colleagues in no fewer than 16 departments and schools across the Davis and Sacramento campuses, including Engineering and Veterinary Science.

Of the 65 research studies being carried out by UC Davis Eye Center scientists, 21 are basic research projects. One of the Eye Center's 7 vision scientists, Dr. John S. Werner, PhD, has six NIH research grants for 2012, totalling $2.5M. The NIH funding agency NEI (National Eye Institute) currently supports UC Davis researchers engaged in vision research with grants totalling $9.8M.

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus, life science research tradeshows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country. Twice each year, typically in January/February and again in June, we hold our popular Sacramento/UCDMC BioResearch Product Faire™ event on the UC Davis Medical School campus. The next show will be held on February 7, 2013. Be sure to check out our newly-released 2013 Show Schedule, and ask one of our sales associates about early registration pricing for this and other events.

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Tags: CA, University of California Davis, Optics, Southwest, California, 2012, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Davis, Sacramento Campus, UCD

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