Smart Contact Lenses that measure intraocular pressure
Technology grows tremendously every year, and the promises of yesterday’s science fiction are the norms of today. Now, smart lenses are being developed to provide a variety of health treatments. Many science fiction authors and movies have explored the idea of a contact lens that can be used to create a visual display.
Now, smart lenses are in development that will do precisely that. The eyes are great diagnostic tools, and by placing contact lenses with sensors on the eye, a wealth of information can be gathered.
Triggerfish, a smart contact lens developed by Sensimed, is now being used to more effectively treat glaucoma patients. One of the difficulties in arranging effective drug therapy for glaucoma is tracking the peaks of intraocular pressure and when they occur.
Prior to the Triggerfish contact lens there was no way to get continuous monitoring of eye pressure. Now, that has been over come. The Triggerfish contact lens provides continuous monitoring over a 24 hour period to allow doctors to create the most effective drug therapy routines.
The technology has not yet been approved for use in the United States, though it is expected to be approved shortly. There are some drawbacks to the lenses, in that they require an antenna in close proximity to function properly. The result is a monocle like device taped to the outside of the eye.
Another smart contact lens development is the lens currently being developed by Dr. Kohane. His lens is currently a passive device that delivers medications. One of the most difficult aspects to measure regarding eye drops is the proper dosage.
When applied, a fair amount of each drop does not actually enter the eye. This makes measuring the exact amount of a prescription impossible.
With this new contact design that will no longer be an issue. It can also be used to deliver antibiotics, an anti inflammatory, and pain killers. The next step in his design is to create a system that responds to triggers. Currently the medication is dispensed consistently as the material degrades. He would like to produce a contact lens that dispenses medication in response to a specified trigger.
Dr. Parviz has been working on smart lenses that monitor glucose levels from testing the eyes. While it has shown promising results when tested on rabbits, it will be some time before this technology reaches the market. Currently the electrode sensors are exposed which causes rapid degradation and a highly limited life span for the lenses.
Dr. Parviz is working to overcome that issue and to include an optical display. He has already proven that he can show a small grid, and is working to create a full optical display. However, for diabetes patients even the small grid could be used to inform them of blood sugar spikes and lows.