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Glaucoma drops without side-effects

A new glaucoma eye drop treatment without the usual side-effects has gone on sale in the UK, raising hopes of eliminating the risk of blindness.

The treatment, tafluprost, marketed as Saflutan, is the first not to contain detergent preservatives associated with side-effects from previous drops, such as burning, itching, tears or a "dry eye" feeling.

Up to 500,000 people in the UK suffer from glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve, but it is estimated a third of those risk further sight loss because they stop taking eye drops to lower eye fluid pressure.

Saflutan is licensed for the reduction of elevated fluid pressure in the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP).

Keith Martin, consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma expert at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, said: "Over 10% of people with glaucoma are at risk of blindness because they cannot tolerate current sight-saving eye drops containing harmful toxins including detergents.

"For the first time, people in the UK will have access to a toxin-free sight-saving treatment that is powerful, well-tolerated and does not cause damage to the eye. This breakthrough is widely welcomed by the ophthalmology community."

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Addenbrooke's Hospital