Eyesight: NHS offer free injections to improve eyesight – faricimab

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A total of around 800,000 people in the UK suffer from one of two eye related conditions known as wet age-related macular degeneration, or wet AMD for short, and diabetic macular oedema. Age-related macular oedema is an eye condition that commonly occurs in older people, affecting the middle part of their vision, while diabetic macular oedema causes sight loss in people with diabetes. A new treatment available on the NHS has found that just three jabs of a single drug could help treat both conditions. Faricimab is a drug often used to treat conditions relating to sight loss.

When injected into the eye it stops fluid leaking into the organ; a crucial role as it is this leaking that causes both diabetic macular oedema and wet-AMD.

Traditionally, treatment for these conditions involved injecting medicines into the affected eye once a month.

What makes the faricimab treatment different is that only three injections a year are needed for the treatment to be effective.

The decision to approve treatment using the drug was assisted by a global study that found nearly half of patients on faricimab were able to go at least four months without needing their next injection.

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Professor Ian Pearce of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The option to extend the interval between injections would be really welcomed by patients.”

The professor added: “This drug has the potential to make a big difference to patient’s lives and allow them to spend less time in hospital.”

What makes both of these conditions treatable with the same drug is that they both have the same cause.

In both wet-AMD and diabetic macular oedema damage to the blood vessels close to the eye results in the macular swelling.

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Faricimab isn’t the only treatment for macular degeneration that is being trialled.

In Italy, scientists are experimenting with a device that can be implanted into the eye.

Known as the Smaller-Incision New-Generation Implantable Miniature Telescope (SING IMT), the device, say the manufacturer is “designed to improve visual acuity and quality of life for patients with late-stage AMD”.

So far, the device, aimed at patients aged 55 and above, has been successfully implanted in a number of patients based in Rome.

Symptoms of the condition, that affects the middle part of someone’s vision, include a burred or distorted area of vision, seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked, objects looking smaller than normal, colours seeming less bright than they used to, and hallucinations.

The NHS recommends that an individual should see an optician if their vision suddenly gets worse, or if they develop a dark curtain or shadow across their vision, or the eye becomes red and painful.

Although these are not symptoms of AMD, they may be a symptom of something serious.

For more information on treatment for AMD contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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