Eye program expanded in B.C.

The Ministry of Health is expanding a retinal disease treatment program

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health is expanding a retinal disease treatment program to provide full coverage for vision-saving drug therapies for two diseases of the eye, announced Health Minister Terry Lake.

Patients with diabetic macular edema or retinal vein occlusion will receive full coverage of the cost of Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) as part of their treatment by a retinal specialist.

Previously, the coverage was only available for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration.

“Vision loss can greatly impact a person’s life, both economically and socially,” said the health minister. “Today’s announcement means that vision-saving drug therapies will be available for more British Columbians, and will improve patients’ quality of life.”

Diabetic macular edema is a disease of the macula, a small area at the very centre of the retina, which can cause blurred vision and partial or complete loss of the patient’s central vision.

Retinal vein occlusion is caused when a blood clot blocks one of the tiny veins in the retina, and can lead to impaired vision and blindness.

The treatments for these two diseases will be provided by the province’s retinal specialists, ophthalmologists with extra training in diseases of the retina. Patients throughout British Columbia can see a retinal specialist by referral from a doctor or optometrist.

Full coverage of these drugs provides retinal specialists with several options to provide the most appropriate care for each patient.

“This is a huge step forward in the fight to preserve vision in people with diabetic macular leakage or retinal vein occlusions,” said Dr. Derek Godinho, president of the Association of British Columbia Retinal Specialists. “With the expanded coverage, all of our patients will now have access to sight-saving therapy for these potentially blinding conditions. We commend the government for proceeding with this very important initiative.”

In 2009, the B.C. government, working with the province’s retinal specialists, created a treatment program for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease which is a major cause of vision loss and blindness.

The retinal disease program treated more than 7,000 patients with age-related macular degeneration last fiscal year and cost $14 million.

With the inclusion of diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusion, this program is expected to treat about 8,000 patients and cost about $15.5 million this fiscal year.

Treatment with Lucentis or Avastin can help stop vision loss for patients; in some cases, the treatment can restore some lost vision.

The treatment involves injecting the drug into the patient’s eye.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

TNRD director accuses Tiny House Warriors of harassment

Blue River director Stephen Quinn said the actions of the pipeline protesters need to be addressed

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Drinking water advisory issued for infants in Barriere

District of Barriere advises water from the municipal system should not be used as drinking water for certain at risk populations, specifically bottle-fed infants due to levels of manganese

Special Council Meeting held May 13 in Barriere regarding current water situation

A Special Council Meeting of the District of Barriere Municipal Council was… Continue reading

Smile – you’re on candid camera

Lower North Thompson 4-H Club member, Maddison Corrie of Louis Creek, encourages… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Most Read