Google Tests Smart Contact Lens for Diabetics: Are the painful days over?
For millions of diabetics around the globe, Google has started testing a new technology that consists of a wearable lens that will be able to measure the glucose concentration in the tear film to guide the prognosis and treatment of diabetes. This technology is still being scrutinized for its feasibility so the big question whether the days of finger pricks are already behind us or not, is yet to be answered. It is, nevertheless, a ground breaking technological advancement that can yield far reaching results.
Google has joined ranks with Novartis for researching on this multipurpose smart lens technology. It is meant to achieve two-way results. It can be beneficial for correction of presbyopia (an age-related optical disorder in which the elasticity of lens in the eye is reduced and with it, the ability to focus) as well as for diabetes. The lens consists of an super fine antenna, a capacitor, a glucose sensor and a controller in addition to two layers of lens. The lens has a minuscule perforation to let the tears flow towards the sensor.
The information about the glucose levels in tears is relayed by the sensor via the antenna to the controller. The controller, in turn, conveys the information to an application in the smart phones which displays the levels of glucose in the body. The autofocus property of the lens helps restore the focusing ability of the eye, thus proving to be a blessing for presbyopics.
The prototype has already been tested and has been rendered safe for use as it lies in front of the iris and the pupil, causing no harm to the structure of the eye. The tested product yields accurate information about the glucose levels within seconds. Physicians have welcomed this technology as a safe alternative to the traditional methods in which finger is pricked to draw blood onto a strip attached to the glucometer which also gives accurate readings within seconds but carries the hazards of being painful and being a means of contracting infections. It is also being hailed a breakthrough for the treatment of presbyopia.
It can also detect lactic acid levels in the tear film, an indicative of cardiac and pulmonary disorders, thereby making the diagnosis of these disorders particularly easy. By measuring the concentration of lacryglobin, the smart leans will also be able to diagnose various types of cancers like colorectal cancer, prostatic carcinoma, breast, ovarian and the lung cancers. The smart lens will be able to guide doctors for the treatment of the patients in a more effective manner. Google has yet again, invention which will have far reaching implications in the coming years.