NORTH-EAST innovator Polyphotonix has won a major national award for its patented mask that could prevent diabetic blindness.

The Sedgefield, County Durham firm this week took the Market Gravity Innovation Award at the 2014 UK National Business Awards. It follows the firm's success in scooping the IChemE Innovative Product of the Year Award.

The mask is worn by patients when they are asleep and treats diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness in the world.

It delivers a precise dose of light therapy during a patient’s normal hours of sleep. Traditional treatments for the condition include injections into the eyes or laser therapy, but the Noctura 400 is non-invasive and significantly cheaper, with developers claiming it could save the NHS £1bn a year.

The system has been developed at CPI's centre based at the Netpark science and technology park.

Richard Kirk, Polyphotonix chief executive, said: "The story of PolyPhotonix and the Noctura 400 is a great example of world class innovation from the UK and one we are immensely proud of.”