County Durham firm’s sight loss treatment sleep mask will be used in LloydsPharmacy service – The Chronicle
By Robert Gibson for The Chronicle
Innovative County Durham healthcare company, PolyPhotonix, has secured a new deal with LloydsPharmacy, which will use its Noctura 400 sleep mask as the basis for an extended optometry service.
The product, which incorporates organic light-emitting diode technology, was developed by the NETPark-based firm to treat Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), a condition which can cause sight loss.
It has already been estimated that the NHS could save £1bn per year through its use.
Under the new agreement, interested LloydsPharmacy customers can request the sleep mask treatment through the Home Optician Service or by calling an advisory line.
Appointments will then be provided by The Outside Clinic, working in partnership with LloydsPharmacy, after which professional assessment of suitability, ongoing monitoring and supply will be offered.
DR occurs since, during the night, the eye requires more oxygen than in the daytime; in patients with diabetes, this need can not be met and the retina is affected.
In response, the body grows new blood vessels. However, these are weak, and are prone to bleeding and leakage of fluid.
Traditional treatments involve laser surgery or invasive injections into the eye, and are usually only offered when a patient’s eye condition deteriorates.
Noctura 400, which emits a low-level light that reduces the eyes’ need for oxygen, by contrast, can be used at any stage of the disease and even as a preventative care treatment.
A number of clinical trials on the product have been completed and reviewed by Professor Ian Grierson, Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology from the University of Liverpool, who said: “There is a general macular anatomic improvement evident in all of the studies which can show within the first three months of mask wear.”
A growing number of patients with DR have also been posting positive stories about their experiences with the sleep mask on the Noctura website.
PolyPhotonix chief Richard Kirk said: “While traditional treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy involve painful injections into the eyeball or laser therapy, our mask provides a home based, non-invasive alternative and it’s an incredible honour to be able to offer the device through the trusted household name of LloydsPharmacy.”
LloydsPharmacy managing director Cormac Tobin said: “The Noctura 400 treatment bridges the gap between optometry and pharmacy and is a perfect fit with our strategic direction of providing more value added services from our high street premises.
“I am thrilled that we can offer this game changing treatment to help our diabetic patients avoid the devastating consequences of diabetic related eye disease.”
The revenues from the mask are being reinvested by PolyPhotonix to fund the development of other bio-photonic devices.
The company has also pledged to give a share to Fight for Sight, the UK’s main eye research charity that funds pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.
Patients interested in the sleep mask should contact PolyPhotonix via the Noctura website (noctura.com) or call the Noctura Advisory Line on 01740 669143.