It goes without saying that diabetes is a long-term chronic disease with endless complications. Remember that poor management can lead to a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which occurs as a result of retinal damage caused by high blood sugar levels. If not treated in a timely manner, retinopathy can gradually lead to impaired vision and worse, blindness.
A South Korea-based research team from Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH), led by Professor Sei Kwang Hahn and Ph.D. candidate Geon-Hui Lee (Department of Materials Science and Engineering), together with Dr. Sangbaie Shin from PHI BIOMED Co. developed a smart wearable LED contact lens that can help prevent and treat the condition at an early stage.
The LED contact lenses prevent retinopathy by beaming 120W far red/LED light directly to the retina. To test the innovative device, the researchers examined it on diabetic animal models for a total of 8 weeks.
And it was found that animals that wore the lenses 3 times a week for about 15 minutes did not develop the condition after 8 weeks, on the other hand, the animals that did not wear the lenses showed the signs of retinopathic disorders.
The condition is not difficult to diagnose. An ophthalmologist (ophthalmologist) can easily spot diabetic retinopathy by performing a simple test, in which the doctor would monitor abnormal or growth of blood vessels, bleeding in the center of the eye, and swelling of the retina.
According to Cleveland Clinic, when the condition becomes severe, a person may develop symptoms such as difficulty reading or seeing distant objects, blurred or distorted vision, color blindness, poor night vision and small dark spots.
The conventional treatments for diabetic retinopathy involve two very painful procedures: one is highly invasive, involving repeated therapeutic injections into the eyeball, while other procedures involve the patient undergoing thousands of small burns made with a laser after anesthesia is administered to destroy capillaries near the retina.
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