The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued draft guidelines recommending a drug-infused eye implant for some patients that suffer from vision loss caused by macular oedema. The findings, which were praised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), could benefit patients who have problems with diabetic retinopathy and central retinal vein occlusion.
The macula is a part of the retina responsible for colour and fine detail in our seeing. Macula oedemas result from the retina becoming blocked and becoming inflamed and having a build-up of fluid, which sometimes leads to severe visual impairment.
The health watchdog has approved the treatment, a biodegradeable implant called Ozurdex, which is injected into the eye every six months, releasing a drug, dexamethasone, which controls the inflammation and helps to restore vision.
Peter Littlejohns, clinical and public health director at NICE, commented “We are pleased to be able to recommend dexamethasone intravitreal implant for this condition. Retinal vein occlusion can be very debilitating and have a very profound effect on everyday life so this draft decision will be welcome news to all those affected.”
Barbara McLaughla, eye health campaigns manager at the RNIB, also said “We would urge PCTs not to force patients to wait for final guidance to be published on treatment with Ozurdex, but to start providing this sight-saving treatment immediately.”

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