A light sleep

An early study shows the positive effects of sleeping with an LED light mask on retinal disease

19 Jan 2017 by Olivia Wannan

Close up of a closed eyePatients with diabetic macular oedema showed improvements in their retina after sleeping with a light emitting diode (LED) sleep mask, in a small study by UK scientists.

The team, based in Liverpool and Durham, monitored the effects of the organic light masks on 60 volunteers who wore them for three months, followed by a one-month recovery period.

The participants were a group aged 18–30, a group aged 50–70 and a group of patients with diabetic macular oedema. The latter group showed a significant level of retinal thinning during the study.

More than two in three patients also had cysts in their eyes either reduce or resolve completely, according to the paper published in the journal Eye.

However, the study did find that the use of the masks came at a price – patients demonstrated lower daytime alertness and wellbeing. Over the study period, 16 patients also withdrew.

Despite these issues, the authors wrote that, with the preliminary data showing a beneficial effect on the symptoms of patients with diabetic macular oedema, “This novel therapeutic approach is ready for large clinical trials.”

Image credit: Deeped Niclas & Amanda Strandh

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