Diabetes is the fastest growing health condition of the 21st Century. Since 1996, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled, which now affects over 4 million people in the UK.
We talk to the experts at Polyphotonix about treating Diabetic Retinopathy and what preventative action can be taken to stop the disorder from materialising.
Vision loss caused by Diabetic Retinopathy is just one complication of diabetes. Each year 1,280 new cases of blindness caused by retinopathy are reported in the UK, making it one of the most common causes of blindness among people of working age. The chance of developing retinopathy increases the longer someone has diabetes, affecting nearly all Type 1 and almost two thirds of Type 2 diabetes patients within 20 years of diagnosis. While early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of developing retinopathy by 90 percent, many fail to get vital annual eye tests.
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What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy occurs at night, when the eye adapts to the dark and requires more oxygen. In patients with diabetes, who have circulation problems, the need for extra oxygen cannot be met and their retina begins to suffer the effects of a severe lack of oxygen. The body’s response is to grow new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are weak, prone to bleeding and leakage of fluid in the eye, which affects vision. In the worst cases, this can cause blindness.
Did you know? Diabetic retinopathy can develop for years without any symptoms.
Traditionally treating Diabetic Retinopathy can involve laser treatment, invasive intraocular injections into the eye, or steroid implants. These treatments are costly to the NHS, contributing to its £10bn expenditure on diabetes. They can also be painful and lose effectiveness over time, cause eye damage, and offer no improvement at all in approximately one third of cases. They tend to also only be offered once the eyesight has already deteriorated.
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The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask is a new, alternative, 100% non-invasive treatment. It harnesses the power of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which can be used at all stages of the disease—Background Retinopathy, Proliferative Retinopathy and Diabetic Macula Oedema.
The sleep mask emits a low-level light through closed eyelids, which does not interfere with sleep, reducing the eyes’ need for oxygen and stopping the damage that goes on to cause sight problems. PolyPhotonix CEO Richard Kirk is a former artist and respected expert in OLED technology. He is passionate about the efficacy and practicality of the mask: “While traditionally treating diabetic retinopathy can involve painful injections into the eyeball or laser therapy, our mask provides a home-based, non-invasive alternative.” A growing number of patients have been using the mask for treating Diabetic Retinopathy, a selection of their inspiring stories can be found on www.noctura.com.
One such patient is Sue Wales, who previously had used laser treatments with limited success. However, after 12 months of wearing the sleep mask, Sue was given the all clear from her specialist. “By using the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask every night for the past two years, it has helped me maintain my eyesight. I still have my driving licence, work full time and enjoy a full and active life without the fear of my eyesight getting worse,” explains Sue.
Polyphotonix is a bio-photonic research and development company, has developed a light therapy sleep mask, Noctura 400, for preventing and treating Diabetic Retinopathy. To find out more about their eye products and services, visit: www.noctura.com
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