An innovative treatment for the inflammatory eye condition, recurrent non-infectious uveitis, has been recommended for use on the NHS.

Alimera Sciences’ fluocinolone acetonide implant, also known as Iluvien, has been recognised by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the condition, meaning fewer hospital visits for patients who receive the current treatments including corticosteroid injections, immunosuppressants, and dexamethasone and adalimumab implants.

The decision from the committee comes after clinical trial results suggest that the fluocinolone acetonide implant improves clearness of vision after 12 months by 5.9 letters on a Snellen chart, compared with 4.3 letters in the control group. A five letter increase in visual acuity indicates an improvement in vision.

The trial also indicated that the treatment reduced uveitis recurrence rates. After 12 months, 97.6% of people in the control group had a recurrence recorded, compared with 37.9% of people who had the fluocinolone acetonide implant.

Existing treatments can be “burdensome and disruptive to daily life for both patients and their carers, needing frequent hospital visits for administration and monitoring,” according to Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.

She continued, “The fluocinolone acetonide implant offers patients a new treatment option that could lead to more consistent disease control with a reduced treatment burden. We are happy to be able to provide people with recurrent non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye with an additional treatment option, particularly one with potentially long-lasting benefits.”

Around 8,500 people in England have non-infectious uveitis affecting the back of the eye, but the number of people with recurrent disease who would be eligible for this treatment are far fewer.

Uveitis is an inflammatory eye condition which may be caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection or trauma to the eye, but more commonly it is associated with an underlying autoimmune disorder.