Published on 24 February 2015

A new treatment for people with diabetes-related visual impairment could be available later this year after being recommended for use by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

EYLEA (aflibercept solution for injection) for the treatment of eye problems due to diabetic macular oedema (DMO) has been given a provisional green light by NICE in a draft report.

The NICE appraisal process to ensure all people with DMO have access to EYLEA is expected to be finalised in June 2015.

The new treatment could be available later this year

Dr Sobha Sivaprasad, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital London saidd: “It is good news that we may potentially have Eylea as a further effective treatment option for many patients experiencing visual impairment due to DMO; however it is frustrating that whilst we are able to diagnose the disease early through the diabetic retinal screening programme we are still unable to effectively treat patients until their DMO progresses. The level of vision in patients who are diagnosed early tends to be good and prompt treatment will help maintain this vision by preventing further damage due to DMO. Another treatment option available for those with early stage DMO includes laser therapy which is not very effective and can even lead to deterioration of vision, meaning the decision is often made to leave patients and monitor them for disease progression until they can receive alternative treatment options.”

DMO is found in some people that have diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes affecting the eye.

Around 50,000 people could be affected by DMO, however this figure is expected to rise significantly with the expected growth of the diabetes population; adding to what is already a major public health issue.

If not treated effectively, DMO can result in vision loss and this can have an impact on the day-to-day lives of people with the condition, carers and their families.

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