New Sunglasses Designed To Help Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

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Tired of hearing about how you should control your blood sugar? You’re not the only one.

A professor and his team were frustrated that they had nothing better to offer diabetic patients losing their sight than the tired advice to control their blood sugar. It’s solid advice, but not helpful to people who are already doing the best they can and still suffering from diabetes complications. Most people with diabetes are already aware that they are at a higher risk for blindness than their non-diabetic peers, and they are interested in more than just obvious advice when it comes to keeping their eyes healthy.

Professor Shehaded, Director of the Institute of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism in Israel, wanted to be able to offer people with diabetes something more tangible than advice.

He thought that while hyperglycemia is to blame for most diabetes-related eye complications (for more information on diabetic eye complications, click here), exposure to certain types of sunlight could be a major compounding factor.

We already known that UV rays from the sun can cause serious damage to the retina, and retinal damage (retinopathy) causes a number of eye disorders that can severely damage a person’s vision.

Professor Shehaded wanted to develop something that would decrease retinal damage from the sun, thereby mitigating risk for diabetes-related blindness. The professor and his team tested diabetic rats with different wavelengths of light and identified the most harmful. They then created an optic filter that could block those specific wavelengths (short wavelengths between 400 and 530 nm).

This filter proved to significantly decrease the rats’ exposure to these wavelengths, and decrease their eye damage.

Human trials for sunglasses developed with the optic filter are scheduled to start in the latter half of 2018, but the filter could eventually be used in buildings, car windows, and regular glasses. The technology could very likely have a positive impact on the vision of people with and without diabetes. We hope they will be protecting eyes far and wide soon!

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Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.
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