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Vision restoration with a drug for macular degeneration

for individual patients as it offers them the chance of having their vision restored."

A major cause of blindness in UK is the wet AMD. Thousands of new cases are reported every year. In UK, nearly 5,00,000 people are affected by wet and dry forms of AMD with 20,000 of them accounting for the wet form. The wet form is responsible for 90% of the cases of blindness due to this disorder. In this condition, new blood vessels are formed behind the retina causing bleeding and scarring. Increasing age, smoking and genetic factors are considered to increase the risk of AMD.

Winfried Amoaku, a consultant ophthalmologist and member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists' scientific committee, said: "This study on Lucentis is the first to show vision improvement in patients with wet AMD. "Previous studies have demonstrated that other treatments can help maintain vision. However, there is no data directly comparing Lucentis to other similar treatments. Another drug, Macugen, and photodynamic therapy can halt the advance of AMD. And there is preliminary evidence that Avastin, a drug used to treat cancer, may also potentially restore vision in a way similar to Lucentis."

The Macular Disease Society said, "It is vital Lucentis is granted a Europe-wide licence and treatment is funded by the NHS as soon as possible. It is a treatment that is effective within the first few weeks of onset of Wet AMD. If funding by primary care trusts is delayed until Nice complete their review then thousands of people could lose their sight irreversibly."
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