LED eye mask as non-invasive treatment device for retinopathy

Fri, 28 Jun 2013
A potential new treatment for retinopathy was presented to the Minister for Universities and Science, MP David Willetts.

The eye mask looks like a regular sleeping mask but features light emitting diodes (LEDs) which shine onto the retina when in use. Development of the new device has been by Dr Stuart English, Design programme leader at Northumbria University, and the Durham based company, PolyPhotonix Ltd.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes which causes weak blood vessels to grow on the retina which can leak and bleed causing sight difficulty. Current treatments for retinopathy available to people with diabetes include laser photocoagulation therapy and intraocular injections (anti-VEGF treatment), which are both invasive and expensive treatments.

Dr English's team note that LED treatment is non-invasive, can be carried out at home and would be available at a fraction of the cost of the aforementioned treatments. The mask may have potential to be used as both a preventive measure and a treatment for retinopathy as well as age-related macular degeneration.

The team have been researching the treatment for 5 years and trials are currently being carried out to deduce how effective the treatment may be.
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