Supporting access to and affordability of registered treatments for macular disease is a key priority for the Foundation. The Foundation advocated strongly for the accessibility of treatments for diabetic macular edema (DME) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO); two diseases that affect the macula and cause vision loss and blindness.
Most people with type 1 diabetes and 60 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes will develop diabetic eye disease within 20 years of diagnosis. Diabetic macular edema is a complication in some people who develop diabetic eye disease. About 1 to 2 per cent of people over 40 are affected by retinal vein occlusion, although most cases occur in people over 60.
Anti-VEGF treatment has rapidly become the standard of care for most people with these conditions, with impressive evidence of safety and efficacy. In 2015 anti-VEGF drugs, Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Eylea (aflibercept) were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for reimbursement for the treatment of DME and RVO.