Hundreds May Lose Sight Due to Primary Care Trusts Funding Row

Hundreds of people in Dorset are being condemned to blindness because health bodies are refusing to fund a treatment that could save their sight, a report has claimed.

Research by the Royal National Institute of the Blind claims that at least 200 people from the county are losing their sight every year because primary care trusts won't pay for certain drugs.

The trusts are responsible for funding anti-VEGF drugs, which are the only treatments for all types of wet age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of sight loss in the UK.

Most are waiting until a patient has lost their sight in one eye before considering treatment. Others are waiting for guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), due in August 2007, before they fund the treatment - yet the Department of Health advised that patients should not be refused treatment on this basis.

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