Because I am fit and well in other respects, the only medical,treatment I receive is for my WMD. I haven’t written about it specifically before, because this blog is intended to show how technology and services can help when living with low vision.
However, central to this is the Lucentis treatment which helps slow down the deterioration of the macular which is the cause of the loss of central vision.
Initially, I developed WMD in my left eye. Five years ago, Lucentis was not available on the NHS (National Health Service in the UK). I had three injections in a private clinic at a cost of £1,700 per injection. They were unsuccessful and my consultant advised discontinuing the treatment.
By the time I developed WMD in my right eye NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) had agreed to provide the injections on the NHS. This means that I do not have to pay for them.
I attend a specialist eye clinic in an NHS hospital. I have regular eye scans which monitor my condition. The consultant doctor looks at these and usually recommends a Lucentis injection approximately once a month. I have just had my 16th injection.
The procedure takes place under local anaesthetic and takes approximately 10 minutes. The actual injection is painless and takes only seconds. It is administered by a doctor in the clinic.
It seems to me that the level of discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off can range from almost none to extremely painful. However, the benefits outweigh a few hours of discomfort.
I am sure that all this depends on many variables, but it does make me anxious. I have talked with my consultant but there doesn’t seem to be any answer. The advice is to take paracetamol or cocodamol. Painkillers including ibuprofen are not suitable.
The Macular Society publish regular articles about developments in treatment and for anyone interested I would strongly recommend subscribing to their magazine.
They have recently announced that NICE have approved the use of injections of Eylea for WMD. This can be longer lasting and thus relieve the NHS of the burden of the more frequent injections of Lucentis. Since there are more than 40,000 new cases of WMD a year, this would be a significant saving. I don’t think it is available yet.
I intend to continue the treatment while it is effective, and am immensely grateful for the efficiency and skill of the staff at the clinic I attend.