A PIONEERING sleep mask which prevents blindness, which is made in the North-East, has been named among the top 100 ideas that changed the world.

Created by PolyPhotonix at NETPark in Sedgefield, County Durham, the Noctura 400 is an innovative treatment for diabetic retinopathy, which can cause sight loss.

It has proven highly effective for diabetes patients across the world and its success has not gone unnoticed.

In fact, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) has selected it to feature in a new exhibition, celebrating the re-opening of its refurbished London headquarters, Savoy Place.

Launched on Tuesday, October 27, 100 Ideas that Changed the World celebrates inventions that have had a major impact on our lives, from inanimate everyday objects to vehicles; huge scale engineering ideas to nanotechnologies.

PolyPhotonix chief executive Richard Kirk said: “It’s an incredible honour to be named among the top 100 objects that changed the world.

“The Noctura 400 will be going on display in London along with innovations which have and could change the face of a wide range of industries, including healthcare, transport and technology.

“While traditional treatments for diabetic retinopathy involve painful injections into the eyeball or laser therapy, our mask not only provides a non-invasive alternative but could also save the NHS and health services around the world billions of pounds.”

The exhibition comes after the health technology firm won the start-up category in the IET Innovation Awards.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said: “This goes to prove the innovation that is happening in County Durham. It is a great asset to the local economy and is also helping people with diabetes, which is an illness affecting more and more people.

“NETPark is going from strength to strength and is providing the kind of high-tech jobs I want to see in the area.”

Diabetic retinopathy occurs because during the night, as the eye adapts to the dark, it requires more oxygen.

In patients with diabetes, who have circulation problems, this need for extra oxygen cannot be met and their retina begins to suffer.

The body’s response is to grow new blood vessels. However, the new vessels are weak, prone to bleeding and leakage of fluid in the eye, which can cause blindness.

Designed to be worn at night, the sleep mask emits a low-level green glow, which reduces the eyes’ need for oxygen and stops damage from occurring.

To find out more about NETPark, visit northeasttechnologypark.com