Capture3A team from pioneering medical firm PolyPhotonix swapped pristine laboratories for a mud-filled park to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Staff, led by CEO Richard Kirk, got down and dirty at the Muddy Mayhem challenge in Hardwick Park, Sedgefield.

They are used to donning spotlessly clean white lab coats at their manufacturing base on nearby NETPark where PolyPhotonix scientists and technicians make the Noctura 400, a sleep mask to treat a diabetic eye disease which can cause blindness.

But, the team looked less than immaculate after sprinting, crawling, climbing and squelching their way through a 10k obstacle-filled mud run.

The eight staff members made their way under cargo nets and over climbing walls, as well as splashing through freezing open water and muddy ditches as part of the gruelling assault course.

Richard said: “As a keen mountaineer, I’m no stranger to a challenge and this was definitely tough, tiring and very mucky indeed. But we all kept each other ‘alive’ around the course and we’re thrilled to be raising money for such a deserving and relevant cause.”

PolyPhotonix has created and manufactures the Noctura 400 sleep mask, a treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).

The eye disease occurs because during the night, as the eye adapts to the dark, it requires more oxygen than it does in the daytime. In patients who have diabetes, this need for extra oxygen cannot be met, so the eye responds by growing new blood vessels.

However, these new vessels are weak, and prone to bleeding and leakage of fluid in the eye. 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, worn by the patient at night, harnesses the power of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), to halt and lessen damage caused by DR.

Richard added: “As a company, we want to raise as much money and awareness as we can for Diabetes UK. PolyPhotonix is dedicated to developing treatments for diabetic eye disease, so it made perfect sense that sponsorship money raised goes to a charity committed to supporting patients and funding diabetes research.”

PolyPhotonix has also just signed a partnership agreement to give a share of its sales revenues from the Noctura 400 to Fight for Sight, the UK’s main eye research charity.

Those taking part along with Richard were project coordinator Simon Womersley, office manager Kerry Miles, office administrator Sophie Ridsdale, quality technician Neil Martin, senior scientist Alex Cole, apprentice Jon Gowdy and senior engineer Paul Farrar.

For further information on PolyPhotonix/Noctura 400 please visit www.polyphotonix.com or www.noctura.com.

Anyone who wants to add to the team’s fundraising total can go to  https://www.justgiving.com/PPXMuddyMayhem/