HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 c816W
Mr. Crausby

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans has he to introduce fast-track treatment for macular eye disease; [97356]

(2) how many people in the United Kingdom suffer from macular eye disease. [97357]

Mr. Hutton

Information on the number of people suffering from age-related macular degeneration is not collected centrally but I am aware of estimates made by the recently established AMD Alliance International that over half a million people in the United Kingdom have this condition. Only 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. of cases—"wet AMD"—are treatable by laser co-agulation and I am not aware that, where it is appropriate, patients are experiencing undue delay in obtaining treatment.

The extension of eligibility for free National Health Service sight tests to people aged 60 or over, introduced from April, is ensuring that more people at risk of AMD are receiving eye examinations from which patients with signs of eye disease are referred for specialist assessment.