Framed Newsletter Issue 1 Vol. 4

Breaking News on Macular Degeneration

Advocacy Win on PBS

An additional 4,500 patients will be able to access subsidised medicine to treat macular disease, with a change to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing for two key medicines.

The federal government’s decision to widen the number of macular conditions that can receive a subsidy for the drugs Ranibzimab (Lucentis) and Dexamethasone (Ozurdex) is a big win for the macular disease community. According to the federal government, an additional 3,300 patients per year will be able to access Ozurdex and a further 1,200 patients will be able to access Lucentis.

The cost savings on the medicine for these additional patients are significant. It is estimated the cost for Lucentis will drop from $7,000 over a year to $39.50 per script, or $6.40 with concession. Ozurdex and Lucentis are already used by ophthalmologists but the PBS was limited to selected conditions. The expanded listing for Lucentis means that subsidised medicine is available for macular conditions, similar to wet age related macular degeneration, where abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula, causing loss of central vision. The expanded listing for a greater number of macular conditions will allow more people than ever before to access subsidised medicine.


Eating Healthy For Your Eyes

Flavonoids & Vegetable Nitrates

An Australian study has shown that people who eat oranges daily have a 61% reduced risk of developing Macular Degeneration (AMD) than people who don’t eat oranges regularly.

Westmead Institute for Medical Research examined data from more than 2,000 Australian adults over 15 years and a particular flavonoid (powerful antioxidant) in oranges called hesperidin appears to help protect against the disease. Researchers speculate that the beneficial impact of flavonoids on macular health comes from their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Further research is required to validate the findings.

Another study from the same research institute has found that beating 100 to 142mg of vegetable nitrates found in leafy green vegetables could help reduced the risk of AMD by 35%. The researchers analysed data on more than 2,00 Australian adults over the age of 49 who were followed over a period of 15 years. If confirmed in other studies, these findings could have positive implications for the prevention on AMD.

Coober Pedy Visit Outreach Services

Indigenous Eye Health

These services support people living in rural and remote areas of South Australia to access health care close to where they live.

The Visiting Optometrists Scheme works to improve the eye health of people in regional, rural and remote locations by increasing access to eye health services and improving coordination of services for people ongoing care needs.

Indigenous eye health is a key priority within the program and services for Indigenous people are delivered in tandem with local health services.

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