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Eyesight: Diseases

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she made of the number of sufferers from macular degenerative disease in Hartlepool; and what steps she plans to take to provide sufferers with treatment to alleviate the condition. (133598)

The number of sufferers of macular degenerative disease in Hartlepool is not collected centrally.

In September 2003, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended the use of Visudyne in photodynamic therapy for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration in some patients. All primary care trusts (PCTs) are funding this treatment in accordance with NICE’s guidance.

NICE is currently appraising two new drug treatments that have been developed for treating age-related macular degeneration—Macugen and Lucentis. NICE is expected to publish guidance in September this year. We have made it quite clear to the national health service that treatment should not be withheld simply because NICE has not issued guidance. Until NICE issues final guidance NHS bodies should continue with local arrangements for introducing new technologies, based on an assessment of the available evidence.