Join the campaign to stop hundreds of people a year going blind

Post date: 
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Hospital ophthalmologist, in green scrubs and wearing a stethoscope, examines the eye of a patient

Hundreds  of patients a year could go blind as the NHS drops treatments for a common cause of blindness, according to a charity.

Olivia’s Vision has launched a campaign aimed at making NHS England reverse a decision made this month to remove funding for treatment options for adults and children with severe refractory uveitis.  
 
Funding for these treatments, Infliximab and Adalimumab (Anti-TNF treatments), is available in Scotland and Wales.
 
Uveitis is one of the most common cause of preventable blindness in the UK. 
 
A decision was made by NHS England that  means that no further patients can access these treatments except for those already on anti-TNFs for this condition. 
 
However, these drugs can be obtained via an  individual funding request (IFR) route. But the patient must be significantly different from others with refractory uveitis, for example, they would need another condition (comorbidity). The severity of refractory uveitis on its own will not be enough to qualify. 
 
The charity provides information for people with uveitis has launched a petition to help reverse this policy.
 
Nick Davis, trustee of Olivia’s Vision, said: “We are devastated by this decision by NHS England to withdraw funding and watch people go blind unnecessarily.
 
“There is no clinical reason for the withdrawal of these drugs as their efficacy is proven. England is now the only country in the developed world not to fund this sight saving treatment. We have had many calls on our helpline from desperate patients who need these drugs, but now face the prospect of going blind.
 
"We intend to do all we can to reverse this decision. I cannot sleep at night knowing people are going blind due to what we fear are purely financial not clinical decisions. We set up Olivia’s Vision when our nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with uveitis. She has been on Humira (Adalimumab) for two years and without it she would now be blind.
 
“How can I tell the parents of the next nine year old who contacts us needing Humira that unless they can self-fund £10,000 a year their child will go blind because NHS England will not fund the drug needed to save her sight.”

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