Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Arun Gupta has successfully operated on the first two patients to be treated at the Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust following approval of the drug Lucentis, for use on people suffering from Macular Degeneration.
Macular Degeneration is the commonest cause of blindness in UK. It usually affects patients over 50, and rises with age. Every year 26,000 patients in the UK are diagnosed with this condition and it presents itself in two forms: dry and wet.
The dry form is more common and progresses slowly and causes blind in some of the affected patients after many years.
The wet form is more aggressive. It progresses quite rapidly and causes blindness in most patients within months.
Said Mr Gupta: “The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) have approved a new treatment for wet Macular Degeneration called Lucentis. This is given by injection into the eye (intravitreal injections) as a day surgery procedure. Multiple injections are required over a period of months. The Lucentis treatment helps to decrease the progression of disease very significantly, and reduces the incidence of blindness.
“This is a very welcome step forward for our patients, and I am pleased to have been able to carry out this treatment on two patients at Ashford Hospital and we hope there will be more to follow.”
For people suffering from Macular Degeneration Mr Gupta has the following advice: Patients with the dry form should take diet supplements which contain vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, b-carotene and lutein.
If patients notice rapid deterioration or distortion of vision they should see their GP immediately because this could mean the onset of the wet form, which needs treatment.
The Eye department at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust also offers low visual aids for patients who have advanced or untreatable disease. These aids include such things as telescopic glasses, magnifying screens for television sets and hand-held magnifying glasses. In addition they can provide a Certificate of Visual Impairment in untreatable patients who have very poor vision, and offer them support.
Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals, NHS Trust
View drug information on Lucentis.