$200,000 grant leads to potential breakthrough for diabetics

10 Jan 2020
Mark Gillies

Your support of Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation has helped fund a clinical study by Professor Mark Gillies that could help save the sight of millions.

Diabetic macular edema, or DME, can be a devastating condition for people with diabetes around the world, causing complete loss of sight if it’s left untreated.

It’s caused when fluid builds up because of leaking blood vessels in the macula – a small but very important area at the back of the eyeball.

Until recently, the best way to stop the disease getting worse was through regular injections. But in many countries these costly injections simply aren’t available to everyone who needs them.

Knowing there must be an easier, more cost-effective way to treat DME, Professor Mark Gillies and his team from the Macular Research Group set out to explore the potential of low energy lasers.

Thanks to generous supporters like you, the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation was able to grant $200,000 towards this ground-breaking research, which was dubbed the Near Infrared Light Photobiomodulation Treatment for Diabetic Macular Oedema (NIRD) Trial.

Professor Mark Gillies has good reason to be proud of his team’s achievements, which were recently showcased in San Francisco at the Retina Day of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the leading clinical meeting in the world.

“The Academy was very interested,” says Mark.
“They set aside time for us in a very crowded program. And following the success of our trial here in Australia, a bigger phase two study is now underway in the United States.”

The international recognition of studies funded by the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation shows just how important your support is.

Your gifts don’t just help fellow Australians, they have the potential to improve the lives of people all over the world for years to come.

As Mark says: “In five to ten years, I can see a time when people with DME will have access to a simple hand-held laser device they can use to administer treatment themselves, without the expense and complication of injections.”

That’s a future we can all look forward to, thanks to generous supporters like you who help fund these vital trials.