Smart Contact Lenses and Systemic Conditions

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Contact Lenses-Smart Enough to Monitor Systemic Conditions?

Diabetes has quickly become an epidemic in this country as well as many others in the world.  It could be linked to our progress in the production and distribution as well as consumption of food.  Even countries that we would never associate with this condition are severely affected.  India is the country in the world with the highest number of diagnosed diabetics. 

The treatment of diabetes is directly related to the measurement of blood sugar.  In order to do this some patients have to draw their own blood sometimes several times a day.  They need to use meters or monitors to provide a reading. Then using this reading some will have to adjust the medication they take.  All this comes at a huge cost, plus the time and inconvenience to the patient or provider.  If you had a device that could be worn and measured the blood glucose without this effort the treatment would be better. 

A smart contact lens is being developed to do just that.  Because the level of sugar in the tear film corresponds directly with the blood sugar, if you had a device that could measure the sugar in the tear, this could be used to monitor treatment.  At this time this device is in the experimental phase, and multiple problems due to design need to be resolved.  But it seems like a matter of time before we can have such a device.
Guest Blogger: Arturo E. Betancourt, M.D., F.A.C.S., Ophthalmologist with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center