A ‘smart contact lens’ for diabetes and glaucoma diagnosis

Korean researchers have designed a “smart contact lens” that may one day allow patients with diabetes and glaucoma to self-monitor blood glucose levels and eye pressure. The study was conducted by researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and Kyungpook National University School of Medicine.
Most previously reported contact lens sensors can only monitor a single analyte (such as glucose) at a time, and generally obstruct the field of vision of the subject.
The design is based on transparent, stretchable sensors that are deposited on commercially available soft-contact lenses.
Electrodes based on a hybrid graphene-silver nanowire material can measure glucose in tears. Internal eye pressure changes are measured by a sandwich structure whose electronic characteristics are modified by pressure.
Both of these readings are transmitted wirelessly using “inductive coupling” (similar to remote charging of batteries), so no connected power source, such as a battery, is required. This design also allows for 24-hour real-time monitoring by patients.
The team expects that the research could also lead to developing biosensors capable of detecting and treating various other human diseases, or used as a component in other biomedical devices.
The study results were published in the March issue of the journal Nature Communications. The study was supported by the 2017 CooperVision Science and Technology (S&T) Awards Program.