Woman holding contact lens

Diabetes is a serious disease that carries a number of very damaging health effects. One of them is how the eyes react to the the high blood pressure that commonly accompanies the disease, and how the retinas can be damaged by blood sugar levels that soar or frequently swing. The damage the retinas suffer can cause blindness, robbing diabetes patients of their sight.

A new treatment for diabetic retina damage hopes to improve the prognosis of diabetes patients at risk for losing their vision. A contact lens that glows is worn at night while the patient sleeps. It’s painless, and far less expensive than existing treatments that are quite costly and very painful. This treatment must be started sooner in the process rather than later.  If those with diabetes are unable, or unwilling, to try this treatment there does come a time when their vision has deteriorated to the point that the damage can be too severe to correct.

The glowing contacts change how structures in the eyes consume oxygen. The rod cells in the eye need double the amount of oxygen when they’re in darkness as they do when exposed to light. The contacts provide that light, and help tune the retina’s metabolism down to reduce the damage they would otherwise experience.

It’s good news for patients at risk for diabetic blindness; inexpensive and painless.

Key Points:

  • 1These contact lenses are worn at night and help reduce damage caused by diabetes.
  • 2These lenses provide a pain free treatment that was not available before.
  • 3Lenses would need to be replaced every year. This is still a leading treatment for those with diabetes.

Creating a gentler and far less invasive method of treating one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States would be groundbreaking for the nearly 30 million people living with diabetes.


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