Thursday, May 16, 2013

Multiple Low Vision Treatment Options for Macular Degeneration

Dr. Randolph Kinkade, a Connecticut Optometrist and founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, discusses low vision rehabilitation treatment for macular degeneration: Prismatic Magnifying Readers, Spectacle Miniature Telescopes, E-Scoops, and Implantable Miniature Telescopes.  
The rehabilitation process starts with first understanding the disease and then the benefits and limitations of magnification.  One also must understand there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are ways to minimize the problems it creates.
Magnification can be supplied in special glasses, hand-held magnifiers or electronically.  Lighting, contrast and glare control are other important treatment tools for low vision due to macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is a progressive condition that causes vision loss in the center of your vision. It affects millions of Americans. In fact, it is a leading cause of permanent vision loss in people 50 and older. The older you are, the greater your chance of being affected by age-related macular degeneration. Early detection is the key to avoiding vision loss.

Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness, but it can decrease your quality of life by blurring or causing a blind spot in your central vision. Clear central vision is necessary for reading, driving, recognizing faces and doing detail work.  In contrast, the peripheral retina is responsible for detecting blurry shapes and movement off to the side.

The macula is an area of the light-sensitive retina in the center of the back of the eye.  In the center of the macula is the fovea that contains densely packed photoreceptor cells which are necessary for providing sharp detail vision.

In dry macular degeneration, the sensitive macula tissue brakes down for not fully understood reasons.  Dry macular degeneration is the the most common form of macular degeneration and there is currently to medical treatment.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels grow and leak fluid underneath the macula.  This form of macular degeneration accounts for  10 percent to 15 percent of cases, but it progresses more rapidly and is more likely to lead to dramatic loss in vision than the dry form.  Early detection and treatment (series of injections) may help reduce the extent of vision loss and in some instances improve vision.

"Low vision" is a term to describe vision loss that can't be corrected with regular eyeglasses, medication or surgery.  It can be caused by macular degeneration and other eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

A combination of vision rehabilitation and magnification tools often return the ability to see and do the things that are important.  Therapy and vision enhancing aids reduce many struggles that accompany vision loss.

Specialty eyewear , like Prismatic Magnifying Readers (SMRs), Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) and E-Scoops provide more magnification and enhance vision than traditional single lens glasses can.


E-Scoop lenses use yoked prism to shift the image away from the damaged areas of the macula, special curvature on the lenses to provide some magnification, special yellow tint for improved contrast, and anti-reflective coating to help with glare.

The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) offers a surgical option for advanced macular degeneration for some selected.  Dr. Kinkade is part of the first rehabilitation team to bring this technology to Connecticut.



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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Treatments for Macular Degeneration Low Vision in Connecticut

The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) is inserted in one eye to provide magnification and better vision for someone with low vision due to advanced macular degeneration.  Connecticut's first IMT rehabilitation team has been formed and is enrolling candidates for screenings.

Dr. Randolph Kinkade and WFSB Interview

Candidates are currently being seen by Dr. Randolph Kinkade and Dr. Mark Milner.  Dr. Kinkade, an optometrist and  founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, evaluates the patient's level of vision and the potential for vision enhancement with the implant. 

Dr. Milner, a cornea and cataract surgeon,  assess the eye's health and anatomy to determine if the implant can be safely placed in the eye to replace a cataract.  The implant is about the size of a pencil eraser and provides 2.7X magnification with wide-angle optics.

Dr. Kinkade holding the IMT

Dr. Kinkade determines which eye should get the implant since it is inserted in only one eye. Using an External Telescopic Simulator and other diagnostic tools he is able to demonstrate and educate candidates regarding the benefits and limitations of the IMT.

Dr. Kinkade viewing through the External Telescopic Simulator

After the surgery Dr. Kinkade coordinates the rehabilitation team's efforts.  The best gain in vision often comes 3-6 months after surgery.  Some patients can appreciate even more gain up to a year after surgery.

                                                       Dr. Kinkade and WTNH Interview

People who are determined not to be candidates for the IMT, can often benefit from Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs).  SMT have been helping patients with macular degeneration see better for years.  Dr. Kinkade has been fitting them for over 20 years.

Dr. Kinkade's Spectacle Miniature Telescope next to an Implantable Miniature Telescope


To learn more about IMTs and SMTs please visit Dr. Kinkade’s website.

You may email Dr. Kinkade with your questions.

You are also welcome to speak to Dr. Kinkade
during a free telephone consultation
to see if you or someone you know is a candidate
for the IMT or SMT

(800) 756-0766
Cheshire - Danbury - Farmington - Litchfield - Manchester - Norwalk - Waterford


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses: Low Vision Treatment

Dr. Randolph C. Kinkade, a Connecticut optometrist and founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, has written the Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses: Low Vision Treatment.  The book helps educate individuals and their doctors about the newest ways to help people see better with macular degeneration and low vision.


Macular degeneration is a common, incurable and potentially devastating disease.  It is the leading cause of permanent vision loss and low vision for seniors.  “Low Vision” is the term used to describe vision loss that cannot be corrected with regular glasses, surgery or medication. 

The guide discusses macular degeneration, low vision treatment and how magnification benefits people suffering from macular degeneration.  The book highlights advanced optic eyeglasses.  It is written in high-contrast large print and contains numerous photographs of patients wearing their low vision glasses.

Unfortunately many people are unfamiliar with low vision treatment options. “Patients come to me all the time asking why their doctor did not make the recommendation for these special glasses or other low vision aids,” Dr. Kinkade said.  “They are frustrated with their reduced level of vision and how it has hindered what they want to see and do.”

For reading and writing there are Prismatic Magnifying Spectacles (PMSs), Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) and ClearImage II Reading Microscopes.  They provide higher magnification than regular eyeglasses, often making reading easier.   They do make things better, but they cannot make things perfect warns Dr. Kinkade.

For seeing in the distance (10 feet and beyond), like watching television, driving and seeing people’s faces, new E-Scoop Glasses and Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) are available.  SMTs for distance viewing are available in full-diameter and bioptic designs.

“No pair of eyeglasses can eliminate developing blind spots created by macular degeneration, but they do make things larger,  giving you a better chance of seeing and reading,” Dr. Kinkade said.

The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) is another new treatment option for people with advanced stable macular degeneration and is discussed in the book.  Dr. Kinkade is part of the first treatment team in Connecticut to offer this technology and has been recently interviewed on WFSB and WTNH television.

The book also discusses the benefits of Electronic Magnification Aids (EMAs).  “With electronic magnification we can make words very large and improve contrast for easier reading,” reports Dr. Kinkade.  “We can even improve the patient’s ability to write checks and view photographs.”


Lighting techniques are described in the book to help in the use of low vision glasses.  People now have options like halogen, neodymium, fluorescent or LED lighting to help with reading.  Swing-arm and gooseneck lamps with a swivel reflector shade allow the light to be aimed properly.


“I know these glasses get people to see better, Dr. Kinkade said.  “How much better depends on the person’s level of vision, what needs to be seen, and the person’s ability to adapt to new ways of seeing.”

Dr. Kinkade is available for a free telephone consultation to see if you or someone you know is a candidate for specialized low vision eyeglasses.  Additional information is available at

An electronic copy of the Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses: Low Vision Treatment can be requested by e-mailing  A printed version can be requested by calling the office.
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