Scotland researchers have developed pioneering technology to help diagnose cataracts, a common diabetes-related complication.
The system uses LEDs (light-emitting diodes) which measure proteins in the eye, indicating cataract formation. This could help doctors decide when surgery is absolutely necessary.
It is thought the technology, which has been developed by Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, could save millions of pounds in unnecessary operations.
Professor Rory Duncan from Heriot-Watt University said: “Rather than waiting for the condition to appear, it could be possible to diagnose and monitor a cataract before it forms, allowing preventative measures to be taken where possible.”
Cataracts is a recognized complication of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, leading to cloudy or blurred vision. Every year there are roughly 10 million cataract removal operations carried out around the world.
People with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing cataracts by maintaining good control of blood glucose levels. It is also important people to attend eye checks at least once a year so your health team can identify any signs of cataracts at an early stage and advise on treatment.
This new development is “one step closer to developing a non-invasive treatment for cataracts,” according to the researchers, who will now test their system on pigs to determine how safe the technology is for human use.
“While this stage is not a cure for cataracts, we believe it could have wide-reaching benefits such as limiting the symptoms experienced by our increasingly-ageing population and those living with diabetes. It could significantly diminish the pressure on our health service,” added Duncan.
“The technology identifies how much oxidative damage lens proteins have accumulated through lifestyle or environmental factors. This accumulated damage may be important in determining risk factors for a number of age-related conditions.”

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