Health

The doctors selling bogus treatments to people

The doctors selling bogus treatments to people facing blindness

Doctors around the world are offering false hope and bogus treatments to millions of people with an incurable condition that can lead to blindness. BBC reporter Ramadan Younes, who has the disease himself, went undercover to expose them.

Lying in the hospital for five days in complete darkness, bandages covering my eyes, I imagined what my life would be like with my vision improved.

It was 2013, and I had traveled to Beijing, China, after reading about a treatment for the genetic eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Six years earlier, I had been diagnosed with the condition, which means I’m gradually losing my vision and one day I could go blind.

I raised $13,000 (£10,900) to pay for treatment that I was told could make my eyesight better and stop it from deteriorating further. I was told it would change my life.

When I returned to my home in Cairo, Egypt, I told friends and family that my sight was improving – but it wasn’t true. Nothing had changed.

Month after month, I still feel my vision fading away. The condition means the millions of light-sensitive cells at the back of my eye are gradually dying.

There is currently no cure – just one approved genetic therapy that can stop the disease from progressing, but only for some patients with a specific faulty gene. But it hasn’t stopped doctors around the world from claiming they can treat the untreatable, often at huge expense.

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