A NEW injection into the eye, which could save the sight of hundreds of thousands of people a year, has been developed by scientists. The steroid implant, which releases an anti-inflammatory drug near the retina, stops the onset of blindness and can also help restore loss of vision. The treatment, which costs 2,000, is used to prevent the sudden loss of sight caused by a blockage of veins at the back of the eye. However, experts say it could also be used to prevent many other causes of blindness such as diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. Shafiq Rehman, a specialist at the Yorkshire Eye Hospital in Bradford, said: This is very exciting and could be used in a wide potential range of sight loss problems. The results are astounding. At the moment the treatment is only available privately until assessed by the Government health and drug watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Mr Oliver Backhouse, consultant ophthalmologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: This is new, it works and its wonderful. To date there have been no really safe and effective treatments for people with inflammation at the back of the eye. This is the first. Carol Johnys, 52, is one of the first patients in Britain to have her sight saved by the new treatment. Carol had already suffered from severely impaired vision in her right eye caused by macular eye disease. When she started experiencing blurring in her left eye and severe headaches she thought it was the same condition. She explained: I was reading one day and just felt something was wrong with my sight. The thought of further sight loss or going blind was terrifying. Her sight loss put her job as a printing company quality controller at risk but after having the steroid implant fitted she rates her eyesight as brilliant. Carol, who lives alone in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: There was a definite improvement in my vision just a week later. It has given me a new lease of life. Widowed Margaret Sheard, 83, of Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, said: It definitely saved my sight. She had already suffered problems with her eyes when she had sudden loss of vision in her left eye. She explained: I had already had treatment to both cataracts and laser treatment to my right eye. When my vision went in my left eye I assumed I needed another blast of laser but it was not the case. Margaret contacted Mr Backhouse, who diagnosed her with a retinal vein blockage. She was told her sight could be saved with the implant. Daily Express Margaret, a retired photographic artist, nurse and mother of three, said: I live alone and needed to save my sight so I could carry on being independent. Its improved my eyesight no end and the quality of my life. The Royal National Institute of Blind People said the implant was an exciting new development although it has yet to be appraised by Nice for widespread use on the NHS. Daily Express