Grandmother's victory in battle to save her sight

A GRANDMOTHER who faced losing her sight because of a postcard lottery is starting the new year with clearer vision.

Lesley Fletcher, who has myopic choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) – which damages central vision – fought North Yorkshire Primary Care Trust after it refused to fund treatment with the drug Lucentis or another, Avastin.

Following an appeal the 57-year-old catering assistant won her battle for funding for Avastin and is now enjoying improved vision after having four injections into her left eye during the past 12 months.

Ms Fletcher, of Sutton-in-Craven, near Keighley, said: "I have had a check-up at the opticians and she said that my eyesight is back to how it was before I had the problem.

"When I looked at objects before I had the treatment anything with a straight edge was wavy. I no longer have that problem now. If I had not had the treatment I would have ended up losing my central vision and all I would have been able to see was a bit around the outside, so to know that's not going to happen is fantastic."

Ms Fletcher was helped by the Macular Disease Society and her consultant Helen Devonport in her fight for the drug. They initially tried to get funding for Lucentis before then focusing their attention on the cheaper drug, Avastin.

Before undergoing the treatment Ms Fletcher lived with the daily fear that she could lose her sight in her left eye.

"To think that it could have happened in my right eye too was frightening," said Ms Fletcher, who works at Airedale Hospital in Steeton, West Yorkshire.

"Now I am just a bit more confident about the future. I have grandchildren and the thought of not seeing them was awful," she added.

Ms Fletcher urged anyone who is refused treatment not to give up. She said: "If anyone is refused treatment or drugs for anything whether it be your eyesight or cancer, just fight because it is worth it. When I first got told I was not going to have the treatment I was absolutely devastated but with the help of my consultant Helen Devonport and the Macular Disease Society, we won."