Device under testing uses tears to measure blood sugar levels
Promising laboratory tests reveal that a new device can use tears instead of blood to measure blood glucose levels in diabetics, according to a paper published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.
University of Michigan researchers developed an electrochemical tear glucose biosensor and tested it on 12 laboratory rabbits. They found a strong correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose levels in the animals. They also found that the exact correlation varies from rabbit to rabbit.
A non-invasive tear glucose device could encourage people with diabetes to test often and regularly. This could lead to better management of their disease and fewer complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and amputations.
Right now, patients have to collect a drop of their blood by pricking their fingers with a pin or lancet. They then test the blood droplet using a handheld glucometer.
As it stands, some patients do not test as often as they should because they want to avoid the pain they associate with repeated finger pricking.
“Thus, it may be possible to measure tear glucose levels multiple times per day to monitor blood glucose changes without the potential pain from the repeated invasive blood drawing method,” the authors of the paper wrote.
How often people with diabetes need to test their blood sugar levels depends on the type of diabetes they have, their individual diabetes treatment plan, and how well they control their blood sugar levels.
People with type 1 diabetes may need to test their blood sugar levels at least three times a day and sometimes more under certain conditions, according to Mayo Clinic. People with type 2 diabetes often test one to three times a day.
If this biosensor device were eventually used in the real world, physicians would need to establish a correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose levels for each individual patient. The physician could then establish an acceptable range for tear glucose concentration for that particular patient.
Abnormal tear glucose results could indicate dangerous blood glucose levels. The patient could then start the appropriate therapy to remedy the problem.
Patients could continue to use traditional blood glucose testing in conjunction with tear glucose testing.
Source: The American Chemical Society, Mayo Clinic