Knowing you’ve got your contact lens cases close at hand in case of an eyesight related emergency is one thing knowing you need to maintain your vision , but with new advances in technology which could see contact lenses serve another health purpose, ensuring you have spares while on the go will become even more important.
According to recent reports, a new sensor has been developed by Oregon State University which could see an end to the painful jabs currently required to monitor blood glucose levels. The sensor uses a nanostructure which can detect slight changes in these levels in ‘buffering’ bodily fluids such as tears.
In test, the sensors were linked to a wearable pump which could administer the relevant blood sugar hormones (either insulin or glucagon). This means that the system is self-regulating, stopping the need for regular self-administered hormone injections by the patient. The contact and pump act as an artificial pancreas.
According to Greg Herman, professor at Oregon State University, the sensors are completely transparent, so do not obstruct vision and they can be used in combination with regular injections for those who don’t fancy putting that much trust into the system: “Even with the contact lens, someone could still manage their diabetes with self-injection. The sensor could communicate with your phone to warn you if your glucose was high or low,” he said.
The contact lenses could possibly be used to detect other conditions such as stress and glaucoma, according to professor Herman, and even further for serious medical conditions such as blood oxygen, pulse rate and even have application in cancer treatment.