Sleep mask prototype based on OLEDs could prevent eye diseases

Researchers at Northumbria University’s Northern Design Centre (NDC; Gateshead, England)—in collaboration with PolyPhotonix Ltd (Sedgefield, England), a biophotonic device developer and maker—have developed a primary-care 'sleep mask' prototype that uses organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) to treat sight loss noninvasively. The sleep mask is one example of the types of collaboration available through the NDC, which is an open innovation center, and could save the sight of hundreds of millions of people with diabetes-related eyesight problems without surgery.

The 'sleep mask' prototype developed by collaborators from Northumbria University and PolyPhotonix
The 'sleep mask' prototype developed by collaborators from Northumbria University and PolyPhotonix.

Led by Dr. Stuart English, a specialist in design-led innovation at Northumbria University, the team's prototype is the world’s first noninvasive primary-care treatment for diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Current treatments for diabetic retinopathy are laser photocoagulation and intraocular injections—procedures that are highly invasive, hospital-based, and expensive.

"The innovation resulting from this research is expected to have significant international impact," says English. "Diabetes is a disease affecting millions throughout the world and a 50% increase in global diabetes has been forecast between 2010 and 2030."

The prototype, which is currently undergoing extensive clinical trials, is a home-based, noninvasive, monitored therapy,and will be delivered at a fraction of current treatment costs.

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