Oxygen therapy, the process whereby concentrated oxygen is regularly fed through the nose of a patient, may help the eyesight of diabetic patients suffering from macular oedema a new study concludes. Macular oedema is a dangerous swelling at the rear of the eye due to fluid build-up. In many cases it can severely affect the vision.
The study was carried out by scientists at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore and the National Eye Institute. The study concentrated on five diabetic patients, all of whom were suffering from severe macular oedema. They each breathed oxygen over a three month period, and were given stationary oxygen tanks to use in their own homes. The patients had all had laser treatment for the oedema, with all but one of their eyes failing to respond. Each patient had oxygen delivered to their noses at the rate of four litres per minute.
The results were extremely positive, researchers said. Fluid build-up was reduced, and the swelling that caused macular oedema declined. In some cases, the central vision of the patients improved. Researchers believe that the successful oxygen therapy could be combined with laser treatment to provide a more effective regimen for patients.

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