Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 12.06.22A pioneering sleep mask to prevent blindness, has been selected by LloydsPharmacy as the central feature in a new extended service offering in optometry.

LloydsPharmacy’s 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 Noctura 400 sleep mask, made by health technology firm PolyPhotonix, is an innovative treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), a condition which can cause sight loss. It will be available from the Lloyds Home Optician Service, The Outside Clinic.

Whilst the product is not available to purchase directly over the counter, the customer just asks for a Home Optician Service leaflet or can call the Noctura Advisory Line (01740 669143) where they can find out more about the service and book an appointment provided by The Outside Clinic working in partnership with LloydsPharmacy. Patients will be given professional assessment of suitability, ongoing monitoring and supply.

A growing number of patients with DR have been using the mask for several months and a selection of their inspiring stories can be found on the Noctura website.

One such patient is Lorraine Helliwell, who had previously required a number of laser treatments which unfortunately damages peripheral vision and can result in someone losing their driving licence. Lorraine has now been wearing the mask for over a year and has been given the all clear from her specialist

“I live right in the middle of the sticks I’ve got to be able to drive. I like playing the piano I enjoy sewing I like doing craft work anything like that that involves your sight really you can’t do it without. It’s changed my life – for the better.”

PolyPhotonix CEO 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.”

Noctura 400 has completed a number of clinical trials, involving 96 patients with diabetic eye disease and 34 healthy volunteers. Professor Ian Grierson, Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology from the University of Liverpool, has been reviewing the trials data and has summarised the results in a recent report.

“There is a general macular anatomic improvement evident in all of the studies which can show within the first 3 months of mask wear. A remarkably similar trend is confirmed in all 4 studies where 2/3rds show clinical repair over a range of anatomic features including Central Subfield Thickness, cyst size and elimination. In addition a level of functional improvement (visual acuity) was also identified in the four studies.”

DR occurs because during the night, as the eye adapts to the dark, it requires more oxygen than it does in the daytime. In patients with diabetes, who have circulation problems, this need for extra oxygen cannot be met and their retina begins to suffer the effects of a severe lack of oxygen.

The body’s response is to grow new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are weak, prone to bleeding and leakage of fluid in the eye. In the worst cases, this can cause blindness.

Traditional treatments involve laser surgery or invasive injections into the eye, and are usually only offered when a patient’s eye condition deteriorates.

But, the new sleep mask, which harnesses the power of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), can be used at all stages through the progression of the disease. It can also be used as a preventative care treatment.

The mask is designed to be worn by the patient at night. It emits a low-level light, which does not interfere with sleep, to reduce the eyes’ need for oxygen and stop damage from occurring.

The revenues from the mask are being reinvested by PolyPhotonix to fund the development of other bio-photonic devices and the company has also pledged to give a share of its sales revenues to Fight for Sight, the UK’s main eye research charity that funds pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask is available privately and is supplied as a 12 week disposable device costing a little less than £3 per day. Interested patients are encouraged to contact PolyPhotonix via the Noctura website (noctura.com) or ring the Noctura Advisory Line on 01740 669143