Smart Contact Lens, Eyeglass Combo Could Monitor Diabetes, Administer Drugs

Finger pricking that monitors blood glucose levels could become a relic of the past, according to work presented by researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea.

Researchers have developed a smart contact lens and eyeglass combination that patients could use to painlessly monitor their diabetes and receive drugs on-demand. The eyeglasses are powered wirelessly, communicate with a circuit-lined, drug-dispensing lens and could last for about a month each.

The new contact lens and eyeglass joint offering might eliminate the need for painful finger pricking to monitor blood sugar levels, and it could provide a simple solution for treating the eye diseases that are common diabetic complications.

“The remote-controlled lens might also be used to treat other eye diseases and infections,” said professor Sae Kwang Hahn, lead author of the study.

Remote-controlled lens

Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are the leading causes of vision impairment around the world. Treatment often includes eye drops to help lower eye pressure for glaucoma patients, and scientists are currently working on eye drops to combat retinopathy as well.

“Animal tests have shown that glucose concentration in tears is an effective proxy for blood sugar levels,” said Hahn. “The new lens-eyeglass system is a convenient way to constantly measure glucose levels in diabetics, alert the wearer to high levels and provide therapy for diabetes-related eye disorders.”

Voice commands would enable a user to administer drugs whenever needed, and could make the process automated by supplying the drugs at a predetermined time.

Researchers admit that while they are excited about the initial results, the life-altering features of the product would only be available to patients if it is affordable and reliable.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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