A few years ago, my dear maternal grandmother visited an optometrist. After thoroughly examining my grandmother’s eyes, this medical professional informed her that she had cataracts in both of them. Concerned, my grandmother immediately made an appointment with a surgeon. The two surgeries to remove the cataracts from my grandmother’s eyes were successful. Scheduling annual eye exams is crucial. During these appointments, your optometrist will check for potentially harmful conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. On this blog, I hope you will discover the most important reasons you should visit your eye doctor every year. Enjoy!
Smart lens technology has come a long way and continues to evolve, as the potential of the technology may offer individuals with diabetes another method for monitoring the disease. If you are tired of pricking your finger to test drops of blood as a way to monitor your blood glucose level, smart contact lenses may one day offer a less invasive method for regulating insulin. Considering its potential and positive implications, you may be interested in learning more about this new technology that could be available to consumers by the year 2020.
Design of the Lens
Managing your blood sugar levels isn't an easy task. Even though new technologies are currently under development that could make monitoring blood glucose levels effortless and painless – not to mention less time consuming – there are numerous key factors for scientists to consider.
Contact lenses for measuring glucose must:
Have the ability to specifically sense glucose and not the other substances present in tears
Have a sensor inside the lens that is small enough not to interfere with the wearer's vision
Not change the other properties of the lens
Be able to transmit the information it collects wirelessly
With researchers overcoming these obstacles, a major advantage of smart contact lenses over finger-prick tests to check blood sugar is that a smart lens can continuously monitor blood glucose levels for changes.
Mechanics of the Lens
If you are wondering how a smart contact lens would work, the design is dependent on electronics and glucose sensing technologies. While most sensors measure the amount of glucose in blood, researchers have developed a biosensor that can detect even small traces of glucose in saliva, urine, and tears.
Taking it a step further, Google has developed a prototype contact lens to monitor glucose levels. A miniature electrochemical glucose sensor embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material is connected to a tiny wireless chip and tiny capacitor that stores electrical energy. Each are mounted onto an electronic ring in the lens.
Tears seep into the sensor – which measures the glucose concentration in the tear fluid – through a small pinhole in the lens. The sensor, which generates blood glucose readings, then transmits the information by an antenna in the electrical circuitry of the lens to an external smartphone device. All this is accomplished by components so tiny that the sensor is no larger than a flake of glitter and the antenna thinner than a single strand of your hair.
Micro LEDs connected to the circuitry could be another signal to the wearer that blood glucose levels are too high or too low. Extreme swings in your blood sugar levels would turn on a tiny LED light in the lens, which would warn you of a problem. This early warning sign could prevent more serious diabetes complications.
Future Medical Uses
In the future, smart contact lenses may play a role in diagnosing, managing, or treating diseases other than diabetes. When it comes to identifying eye disease, sensors inside the lenses that measure the amount of dopamine in eye fluids may one day help in detecting early stages of glaucoma. As the technology advances, contact lenses may also eventually be used as a method for delivering medication.