• Alyssa Proctor

The Price Put on Vision

Updated: Jul 3

There have been some exciting breakthroughs which been made in the science industry, regarding cures to genetically inherited vision loss and blindness, which used to be known as incurable in the medical industry.

What is Luxturna?

Luxturna is an FDA approved gene therapy for those who suffer from Biallelic Retinal Dystrophy. Luxturna’s process cures blindness by injecting the non-mutated and correct genes into a virus, and then into the eye. These new or functional genes which are introduced, correct the mutation, therefore, making vision possible.

Who is a candidate?

Patients who suffer from an inherited retinal disease, because of defects in both RPE65 gene copies, and have viable retinal cells are candidates for this treatment. Both genetic testings must be conducted, and the determination of the patient’s retinal cells viability, by a physician.

How is it administered?

Luxturna is a one-time injection, where one eye is treated at a time, with a recovery period of at least 6 days in between treatments (Luxturna).

How is vision loss or blindness caused?

It is an inherited genetic trait commonly referred to as biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. For individuals with a deficiency of the RPE65 gene, their retinal cells are unable to produce the protein, which inhibits the vision cycle. This also leads to the development of a toxic by-product that results in retinal cell death.

The cost of Luxturna?

The cost of this treatment is indeed a hindrance to candidates as the price of these curing injections had an original list price of $850,000 ($425,000 per eye). In the United States, it was estimated by Sparks Therapeutics that 1,000 to 3,000 people suffer from RPE65-related eye diseases, in 2017 (livescience.com).

What do you think would be a reasonable price for sight? What price would you pay to not be blind?

Below is a testimonial and video following along a very young patient, Monroe, who underwent this treatment, and was cured of her vision loss.

Research sources:

Luxturna, Gene Therapy and Your Inherited Retinal Disease – VisionAware


About Luxturna – Luxturna.com


New Gene Therapy for Blindness: How Does It Work? - livescience.com


Spark's price for Luxturna blindness gene therapy too high: ICER - Bill Berkrot



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