Innovative treatment for inflammatory eye condition recommended for use on the NHS

People with recurrent non-infectious uveitis affecting the back of the eye could benefit from a new treatment option, the fluocinolone acetonide implant, as a result of new NICE guidance published today.

The treatment, which is injected into the eye, lasts 3 years. This could mean fewer hospital visits for patients who receive current treatments: including corticosteroid injections, immunosuppressants, and dexamethasone and adalimumab implants.

Clinical trial results suggest the fluocinolone acetonide implant may improve clearness of vision for people with uveitis and help prevent the disease returning.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Existing treatments for controlling recurrent non-infectious uveitis can be burdensome and disruptive to daily life for both patients and their carers, needing frequent hospital visits for administration and monitoring.”

“The fluocinolone acetonide implant offers patients a new treatment option that could lead to more consistent disease control with a reduced treatment burden. We are happy to be able to provide people with recurrent non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye with an additional treatment option, particularly one with potentially long-lasting benefits.”

Symptoms of uveitis include eye pain, redness of the eye, vision problems, sensitivity to light, and headaches.  If left untreated more serious conditions can develop such as glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eye), cataracts (cloudiness of the lens), cystoid macular oedema (swelling of the retina) and permanent loss of vision.

Around 8,500 people in England have non-infectious uveitis affecting the back of the eye. The number of people with recurrent disease who would be eligible for this treatment are far fewer.