Medical research is offering hope to the hundreds of thousands of diabetes patients who endure the discomfort of monthly injections into the eye to protect them from the risk of blindness.
A study being led by Professor David Bates at the University of Nottingham is investigating whether simple eye drops could be used instead to treat patients for the condition diabetic retinopathy.
If successful, the eye drops could be available to diabetic patients on clinical trials within the next three to five years.
The research has been made possible thanks to a £60,000 grant from Nottinghamshire Freemasons and £37,000 from the National Eye Research Centre.
Professor David Bates in the University’s School of Medicine said: “We are extremely grateful for the grant we have received from the Freemasons and National Eye Research Centre. Without their support, this project would not have been possible and we would not be able to find out whether drugs that are already being developed for other eye diseases could be also be used in diabetic retinopathy.
“Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the working population in the UK. The impact of this research means that in the future diabetic patients could be offered a better, more effective way of preventing them from losing their sight.
“The current treatment for diabetic retinopathy is very unpleasant for the patient but also costly and time-consuming because the injection can only be performed at eye clinics by specialist doctors and nurses.
“Eye drops that patients could administer themselves would reduce both their discomfort and the financial burden which the current treatment places on the NHS.”
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