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New nanosecond laser therapy for diabetic eye disease

image-tools1A world-first nanosecond laser therapy developed for the treatment of a range of retinal diseases, including diabetic eye disease, will feature in a free community information session next week, presented by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Almost 1.1 million Australians have diabetes and this number is expected to rise to 3 million by 2025. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that damages the blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss and blindness.

CERA researcher and ophthalmologist Associate Professor Wilson Heriot is one of the first practitioners to use this breakthrough technology, referred to as 2RT, on patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO), the most common form of diabetic retinopathy.

“Traditional thermal lasers have been used for decades to treat diabetic eye diseases, but they effectively burn small areas of the retina to control swelling (oedema) or to stop bleeding. This destroys sight giving tissue and also causes pain.” explains Associate Professor Heriot.

“This new laser treatment emits a dramatically shorter energy dose that does not damage the retina. It is painless, easy to administer and appears to be as effective as thermal photocoagulation in treating the swelling and poor vision associated with DMO.”

CERA first began testing the laser, developed by Ellex Medical Lasers Ltd, on patients with age-related macular degeneration in 2009.

Associate Professor Heriot and other experts on diabetic eye disease will present a free community information forum on the latest research in diabetic retinopathy on Thursday 18 July.

The information forum begins 11am and includes time to meet CERA researchers and ask questions.

Hosted by Senior Research Fellow Dr Alex Harper, presenters include:

• Ms Carolyn Hines, Diabetes Education Manager, Diabetes Australia – Victoria
• Ms Melanie Larizza, RetPath Project Manager, CERA
• Associate Professor Wilson Heriot, Director, Eye Surgery Associates

“This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the latest treatment options for this common complication of diabetes,” said Associate Professor Heriot.

The event will be held at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne and is free to attend, however bookings are essential as spaces are limited. Please call 1300 737 757 to book your place or email cera-community@unimelb.edu.au

For more information, see our Events page.

The event coincides with National Diabetes Awareness Week (14-20 July).