NICE has announced that EYLEA (aflibercept solution for intravitreal injection, known in the scientific literature as VEGF Trap-Eye) should be recommended as a treatment option for visual impairment due to macular oedema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). This recommendation marks the second indication for EYLEA that has received a draft FAD, without the need for additional consulation. Guidance is expected to be made final in Q1 2014, from which date NHS bodies will have 90 days to ensure EYLEA is made available to all eligible patients.

Ian Pearce, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, commented on the decision, “This decision is great news and will be welcomed by patients and ophthalmologists alike. CRVO can be a debilitating disease that affects the central vision, meaning patients can no longer read, watch the television, drive or prepare meals. This puts a massive strain on them as well as their family and that is why it is important to have a choice of proven, effective treatment options available.”

According to NICE, in England and Wales, it has been estimated that for every 100,000 population approximately 17 people aged 40 years or over will require treatment for macular oedema following CRVO each year. The incidence of CRVO typically increases with age, with over 90%t of people with CRVO aged above 50 years. It occurs slightly more frequently in males than females and shows no racial preference. The impact of vision loss associated with CRVO can have a profound effect on vision-related quality of life. Patients may struggle with daily tasks, lose confidence and become increasingly dependent. 

Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) results from a blockage of the retinal veins that carry blood away from the vascularised surface of the retina. It is the second most common retinal vascular disorder after diabetic retinopathy and is considered to be an important cause of visual loss.4,5 RVO can occur in two main different clinical forms depending on the location of the venous blockage: branch RVO (BRVO) or central RVO (CRVO). BRVO is more common than CRVO.