A DIABETIC woman at risk of going blind has had her sight saved by a new sleep mask.

Barbara Parfitt, 59, of Great Horkesley, has diabetic retinopathy and struggles to get enough oxygen to her eyes, putting her at risk of blindness.

The problem is worse at night as her eyes have adapted to the dark, requiring more oxygen.

The former nurse is one of the first people to test the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask to try and save her sight.

She said: “The sleep mask gave me hope at a very bad time as I had worries about losing vision and not being able to drive, or even read a book.

“You naturally have fears about that loss of freedom.”

The mask gives out a low level green light to reduce the eyes’ need for oxygen.

Mrs Parfitt already has hearing loss as a result of her diabetes and feared losing her sight as well.

Thirty years ago she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, where the body is unable to produce insulin.

She said: “I had been feeling very unwell and I was a nurse, so I knew exactly what it was, but I didn’t want to hear the diagnosis.

“When you go for check-ups as a diabetic, you’re told to improve your lifestyle to improve your control of the condition and stop it deteriorating. But, I was already doing everything right. I have a good diet, I walk 20 miles a week and I check my blood sugar.

“My fear was I was already doing everything I could to help myself and my eyes were still getting worse. To have this mask is a huge relief.”

The Noctura 400 is being trialled by the NHS across the UK, as well as being prescribed by some opticians.