Primary care trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside and Norfolk have agreed to fund two controversial treatments that can prevent patients with a serious eye condition from going blind.

Norfolk has agreed to backdate funding to last May.

Norfolk PCT and the NHS North West specialised commissioning team, which represents PCTs across Cheshire and Merseyside, will fund pegaptanib (Macugen) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) to treat "wet" age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in May last year recommended against funding Macugen and put tight restrictions on the use of Lucentis, saying it should only be used in patients who had already lost their sight in one eye.

However, in its second draft guidance in December NICE tempered its recommendations, proposing Lucentis be allowed in patients who still had vision in both eyes.

However Norfolk PCT and PCTs in Cheshire and Merseyside have agreed to fund use of both Macugen and Lucentis for both eyes. Norfolk PCT has also decided to refund patients who have paid for treatment from May 2007, when NICE issued its initial draft guidance.