Contact Lens Can Detect Glucose
A study at Oregon State University has found that a transparent contact lens can sense blood glucose levels well enough to control an insulin infuser. The nanostructured transistor can detect glucose changes in psysiological buffer solutions, including tear fluid in the eyes.
The sensor is an amorphous indium gallium oxide field effect transistor (IGZO FET) that can "feel" the subtle glucose changes within the tear fluid. In type 1 diabetes, for example, close control of glucose levels is crucial to good outcomes for patient health.
IGZO FET sensors can transmit real-time glucose information to a wearable insulin pump.
Researchers at OSU's College of Engineering say that the sensors could control an insulin pump to deliver the hormones required for blood sugar regulation. This allows the pump and sensor to act as an artificial pancreas, automating the glucose monitoring and control process better than current pumps can.
The sensor is working, but the full technology is not yet developed. “What we want to do next is fully develop the communication aspect, and we want to use the entire contact lens as real estate for sensing and communications electronics," says Greg Herman, OSU professor of chemical engineering and an author of the study.
Ultimately, the sensor lens could have a variety of sensors included to monitor stress hormones, uric acid, glaucoma pressure, and more. All in one package.
The research could take some time, but could drastically change how diabetic patients monitor and control glucose levels in their bloodstream.