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 renews Dangerous Dogs Contract for area

Highlights from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board of Directors’ meeting of Nov. 22

Barriere family airlifted to Vancouver due to carbon monoxide exposure have now returned home

A family of five from Barriere was transported to Vancouver for medical… Continue reading

Sundhu new president of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo New Democrats

Candidate in 2015 will steer the riding association as another candidate is chosen for 2019 federal election campaign

Butter: to churn or not to churn? That is the Question

I was having a muffin the other day and watching myself spread… Continue reading

Local RCMP recover stolen rifles from a property north of Barriere

Anyone wishing to make claim to the firearms should contact detachment

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read