Nightly News | June 27, 2013
>>> as promised earlier, an update on macular degeneration . 15 million americans have it. usually strikes those over 50, and the leading cause of blind innocence this country. tonight, we learn not about a cure, but a new navigation tool that is helping patients get along. from our chief medical correspondent nancy snyderman .
>> reporter: when 77-year-old jim hindman started losing his sight 20 years ago, it was a devastating blow to his independence.
>> giving up my driver's license, that was the -- i think the moment of despair.
>> reporter: jim developed dry age-related macular degeneration . a condition that slowly robs patient of vision from the middle of the eye.
>> one eye can be worse than the other and the progression rate may be different for the two eyes.
>> reporter: for the people who live with macular degeneration , treatments for the dry form were limited to magnifying lenses. those weren't good enough for jim . this dynamic businessman who cofounded jiffy lube , coached college baseball teams, and races thoroughbreds, knew there had to be something. he found it at the wilmer eye institute. there was a miniature telescope in his eye.
>> people can see faces, television, looking out into the world.
>> reporter: the fda-approved device magnifies objects that would normally be seen by central vision and projected to the healthy part of the retina.
>> this is the size of the letters that you can see now.
>> reporter: but it's not a quick fix. it requires intense rehabilitation to retrain the brain, using the telescope irk eye to see detail.
>> it has been miraculous. the change on amy psychological outlook on life is dramatic.
>> reporter: it wribrings what's important back into focus. nancy snyderman , nbc, new york.