Could contact lenses replace finger-pricking to measure blood sugar levels? Google is banking on the possibility. The company earlier this month unveiled a prototype of a wearable smart device, a soft contact lens that can measure the amount of sugar in tears.
The special contact lens has a tiny pinhole that lets tear fluid seep in and pass over a sensor that acts as a glucose monitor. The lens currently can get a level reading once every second. A small antenna, capacitor and controller allows the information gathered to be transferred to a handheld device for reading.
More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, and the number of those affected by the disease is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade. Several times a day, every day, many diabetics have to prick their fingers and test their blood sugar levels. The process can be painful and bothersome, leading some diabetics to test less often, but it is necessary in order to keep blood sugar levels in check and prevent serious health consequences such as coma and death.
Google isn’t the first company to consider ways to measure eye fluid to check blood sugar levels. Some companies have developed sensors that are designed to be embedded in the eye. Others have explored collecting this information from the eye using light. None have yet to hit the market.
Google says its smart contact lens is still in the early stages of testing, but the company is talking with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about how to eventually get the device on the market.
Source: Washington Post