Fifteen million Americans have Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), a slow, deterioration and loss of one’s central vision. Dr. Donald Downer of Clay Eye Physicians & Surgeons recently performed the first CentraSight mini telescope implant, a new surgical procedure to help improve central vision in patients with end-stage ARMD. This procedure was conducted at Fleming Island Surgery Center, and was the first telescope implant to be performed in Northeast Florida. Five hundred CentraSight telescope surgeries have been completed to date in the U.S. The procedure involved surgically placing a miniature telescope in one eye to magnify images, allowing macular degeneration patients to see these images in their central vision. The non-telescope eye continues to see peripheral images.

Micro telescope example

Russell Pecoraro, M.D., Board Certified Ophthalmologist and Retina and Macular Degeneration Specialist says, “Age Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in patients sixty and older. The fact that a new FDA approved device allows these patients the opportunity to regain some usable vision is very exciting.”

Donald Downer, M.D, Cornea & Cataract Surgeon, and the lead surgeon for the CentraSight surgery states, “A substantial amount of work goes into screening and selecting the appropriate patients for this surgery. Prior to surgery, patients undergo extensive therapy, which trains their eye to use a telescopic magnifier. These patients also work closely with a low-vision specialist to help adapt to their new world.” Other members of the CentraSight Jacksonville team include retinal practices Florida Retina Institute, Retina Associates, and First Coast Retina, as well as a low-vision optometrist and occupational therapist at Brooks Rehabilitation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently lowered the age of eligibility for the surgery from 75 to 65. There are currently about 100 CentraSight provider teams offering the treatment throughout the U.S., including this team in Jacksonville. The cost for the CentraSight telescope implant and visits associated with the treatment program are Medicare eligible.

Eligible candidates for the treatment must be 65 years or older, and meet several other indications for treatment. Unfortunately, the telescope implant is not a cure for end-stage ARMD. As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the telescope implant. Possible side effects include decreased vision or vision impairing corneal swelling. The risks and benefits associated with the telescope implant are discussed in the Patient Information Booklet available at

About Clay Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Clay Eye Physicians & Surgeons offers comprehensive eye care in the following specialties: Diabetic Eye Disease and Macular Degeneration, Laser Cataract Surgery, Cornea Surgery, Medical Retina, Glaucoma Surgery, LASIK Surgery, Cosmetic Eye Procedures, Pediatric Ophthalmology, and Pediatric Eye Exams. In addition, they offer Routine Eye Exams, Contact Lenses, and Boutique Eyewear for the entire family. Clay Eye Physicians & Surgeons was established in 1977 and is a nine physician group. They currently have offices in Orange Park, Fleming Island, Mandarin and Riverside. If you would like more information about Clay Eye, please contact (904) 272-2020, or visit their website at

About CentraSight
CentraSight is the first-ever treatment program that utilizes a tiny telescope implant for end-stage age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the most advanced form of ARMD and the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. Patients with end-stage ARMD have a central blind spot in their vision that makes it difficult or impossible to see faces, read, and perform everyday activities. The CentraSight treatment program allows patients to see details again by implanting a tiny telescope in the eye in an outpatient procedure, then coordinating with vision specialists to help the patient learn how to use their new vision for everyday activities. For more information visit

Clay Eye Physicians and Surgeons offers comprehensive eye care in the following specialties: Glaucoma Surgery, Cornea SurgeryDiabetic Eye Disease and Macular Degeneration, Cataract Surgery, Laser Floater Lysis, Medical Retina, Retinal Surgery, LASIK Surgery and Cosmetic Eye Procedures.  In addition, they offer Routine Eye Exams, Contact Lenses, and Boutique Eyewear for the entire family.