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Diabetes Discovery

Updated: Monday, Aug 31,2009, 11:51:09 AM
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Chris Ladas has type 2 diabetes and suffers from blurred vision, or diabetic retinopathy, because of it. Diabetic retinopathy blocks blood vessels in the retina and causes blurry vision.

Diabetes affects over 20 million Americans. It can cause many serious health problems, including blindness. Treatment for eye problems is possible, but can be extremely painful. Now, thanks to chemical physics, there is a new laser technology, called PASCAL, can treat patients in just five minutes, and virtually pain-free.

The old method of treatment consisted of retinal surgeons using a laser to treat the disease. Some patients describe it as being poked in the eye with a sharp object for 45 minutes. Ladas describes the experience, "It was very stressful, very difficult, and in some cases it was quite painful."

Currently used by more than 150 doctors across the country, PASCAL delivers rapid laser pulses in patterns, shooting 50 laser pulses all at once. The laser burns away weakened blood vessels on the retina on the back of the eye before they burst, saving vision for millions.

David Mordaunt, Ph.D., a chemical physicist and CEO of OptiMedica in Santa Clara, California, explains the benefits of PASCAL technology, "Fifty laser spots can be delivered in the time it would take traditionally one laser spot to be delivered." Ladas has started using PASCAL technology to help treat his blurred vision. He may need treatments for life in order to save his sight, but the technology makes living with the disease easier. Ladas told DBIS, "It was probably about 90 percent less painful than the previous treatments."


Tags: Diabetes

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