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Eyesight: Surgery

Question for Department of Health

UIN 206800, tabled on 21 July 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make eye implants available on the NHS to treat blindness.

Answered on

4 September 2014

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning health care services to meet the needs of their local populations.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published technology appraisal guidance recommending fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implants (TA301, November 2013) for treating chronic diabetic macular oedema in certain circumstances and dexamethasone intravitreal implants (TA229, July 2011) for the treatment of macular oedema secondary to retinal vein occlusion, subject to certain clinical criteria.

There is a legal requirement on the National Health Service to provide funding for treatments and drugs recommended by NICE technology appraisal guidance where clinicians wish to use them.

NICE has also issued a number of pieces of interventional procedures guidance on eye implants, including:

- Implantation of miniature lens systems for advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (IPG272, August 2008);

- corneal implants for keratoconus (IPG227, July 2007);

- Corneal implants for the correction of refractive error (IPG225, July 2007);

- Implantation of accommodating intraocular lenses for cataract (IPG209, February 2007); and

- Intraocular lens insertion for correction of refractive error, with preservation of the natural lens (IPG289, February 2009).

Where positive NICE technology appraisal guidance does not exist, it is for NHS commissioners to make funding decisions based on an assessment of the available evidence.

The guidance referred to above can be found at: