40-year-old dad with diabetes pinning hopes on pioneering sleep mask
By Tom Pyman for Bexley Times
Neil Walker, 40, is at risk of blindness because he suffers from Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).
After 20 years of being diagnosed with diabetes, nearly all patients with Type 1 and 60% of patients with Type 2 diabetes will have some degree of retinopathy.
The roofing industry manager was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was just 12 and was told five years ago during a routine eye examination that he had developed eye disease.
He said: “It’s terrifying to be told you have retinopathy. A million scary thoughts go through your head about losing your sight.
“I’m only 40 and I have young children. I want to be able to see them grow up, to see their wedding day.”
Mr Walker, who used to go to Hurstmere School for Boys, has lost count of the number of laser treatments he has had to try to stem damage to his eyes.
But after starting to wear the new Noctura 400 Sleep Mask, his condition has finally started to improve and he has hope for his future eyesight.
The mask emits a low-level green glow, which does not interfere with sleep, to reduce the eyes’ need for oxygen and stop damage from occurring.
Dad to Libby, 11, Jake, 14, and Conor, 16, Mr Walker said: “Now, I finally feel hopeful again.
“I just wish I’d known about the mask earlier before the damage to my eyes happened.”
Noctura 400 is currently being prescribed by selected opticians including Wade Opticians and The Outside Clinic.
It has won numerous awards, including a Bright Ideas in Health Award, which is given to innovations which are making a difference within the NHS.
The device is set to be named one of 100 objects that changed the world by the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London on October 27.