UAE makes breakthrough in tackling diabetic retinopathy

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UAE makes breakthrough in tackling diabetic retinopathy
Photothera Labs will launch its sleep mask for diabetic retinopathy - LucisDIA - the first of its kind, in the UAE soon

Dubai - Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness among working-age individuals in developed countries


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Sat 19 Aug 2017, 10:25 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 12:28 AM

The hectic lifestyle most of us have seldom allow us to pause and attend to our own minor pains and aches until it actually starts hurting. But, by not attending the minor signs we are actually nurturing a long-term irreversible effects.
Simple symptoms like sudden changes in vision or blurred vision, double vision, eye pain are common in people suffering from diabetic retinopathy that can develop for years without any symptoms.
In simple terms, diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes to the blood vessels of the retina. Poor glucose control and hypoxia cause new weak blood vessels to grow and leak fluid into the back of the eye (the retina). Abnormal blood vessels also grow on the surface of the retina, which can bleed and block vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness among working-age individuals in developed countries - it can develop for years without symptoms.
The longer you have had diabetes, the greater your chance of developing retinopathy. Almost all Type 1 and two-thirds of Type 2 diabetes patients will develop retinopathy within 20 years of diagnosis.
The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy is known to increase with age as well as with poor blood sugar control and high blood pressure. Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema are serious complications of diabetes, which can lead to complete loss of vision.
Traditional treatments for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema include laser treatment, invasive intraocular injections into the eye, or steroid implants. The UAE has taken note of rising patients of diabetes and is all set to introduce a new approach to the management of diabetic retinopathy by tying up with a company called Photothera Labs, which will launch a device a sleep mask for diabetic retinopathy, LucisDIA - the first of its kind in the UAE.
"The new medical device will make the UAE, the first foreign country where this medical device will be helping people with diabetic retinopathy. There is no other medical device based on phototherapy treatment for diabetic retinopathy patients in the UAE or elsewhere in the world," said Pavel Benes, CTO of Photothera Labs.
"LucisDIA can be available to UAE patients very soon, hopefully by mid-2018. We are running a clinical trial with Dubai Hospital now to proof the concept multi-ethnically. After the first results in December this year the product will get the registration from the Ministry of Health and Prevention.
"Photothera Labs was selected by Dubai Future Accelerator this January and worked directly with Dubai Health Authority and the purpose of the programme was to accelerate entry into the UAE market by preparing a pilot project with DHA. Our pilot project is a clinical trial conducted by Dr Patricio Lorenzo, head of ophthalmology department at Dubai Hospital. The trial is for one year and therefore we have signed a one year agreement with DHA," informed Pavel.
The first presentation of the sleep mask LucisDIA to all retina specialists from UAE is planned in January 2018 at Emirates Towers. Congresses and medical trade shows are scheduled right after in spring and summer 2018.
"We are coming with LucisDIA to the UAE and GCC region markets because this is the world's most affected place with diabetes and the numbers of patients are nearly tripled apart from EU," said Pavel.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in three different forms:
> Background retinopathy - Early stages of retinal damage, not detectable without eye examinations'
> Proliferative retinopathy - New growth of weak blood vessels can lead to leaking (vitreous haemorrhages) and to scarring at the back of the eye and detachment of the retina, causing blindness
> Diabetic macular oedema - Commonly caused by fluid building up on the macula and can affect central vision
Diabetic retinopathy symptoms
> Sudden changes in vision/ blurred vision
> Double vision
> Eye pain
Common risk factors
> Protein in urine
> Prolonged diabetes
> High blood pressure
> Poor blood glucose control
> Raised blood fats (triglycerides)

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