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    Importance of macular degeneration declining in England and Wales

    Macular degeneration and diabetes appear to be playing smaller roles in sight impairment in England and Wales, according to the National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR).

    Macular degeneration and diabetes appear to be playing smaller roles in sight impairment in England and Wales, according to the National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR).

    In a tally of certificates of visual impairment from April 2012 to March 2013, degeneration of the macula and posterior pole accounted for 50% of applications for certificates of visual impairment (CVIs) for blindness, down from 54% five years earlier.

    “This is most likely attributable to increasing availability of anti-VEGF drugs which have represented a steep change in the management of neovascular AMD,” wrote the NIHR researchers in the journal Eye.

    Reports on the causes of blindness and low vision in England and Wales date to 1950. Since 2005 in England and 2007 in Wales, people seeking public assistance for sight impairment have had to fill out a CVI.

    Before the current report, the last time anyone analysed the certificates to produce a report on causes of blindness was for the period from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.

    For the new analysis, the researchers analyzed the 24,009 forms of which 10,410 were for blind people and 13,129 were for people with partial visual impairment. Another 470 did not state which of these conditions applied (a decline from 755 in the tally from five years earlier). England accounted for 11,647 of the forms and Wales for 1362.

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