- Diabetes is the most common cause of high blood sugar levels and
affects over 400 million people worldwide.
- Uncontrolled diabetes is associated with several complications
including raised intraocular pressure or glaucoma.
- New smart contact lenses help in self-monitoring of blood sugar
levels and intraocular pressure.
smart contact lenses equipped with wireless bio-sensors can be used to monitor
health status including blood sugar levels and intraocular pressure in
diabetes, according to recent research.
This study has been jointly undertaken by
Professor Jang-Ung Park of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Chang
Young Lee of Life Science, and Professor Franklin Bien of Electrical and
Computer Engineering at UNIST,
in collaboration with Professor Hong Kyun Kim of Ophthalmology and Professor
Kwi-Hyun Bae of Internal Medicine at Kyungpook National University (KNU).
‘New generation smart contact lenses or devices with inbuilt electronic bio-sensors could one day be used in diagnosing and treating various human diseases.’
of the Research
The main aim of this research was to
develop a patient-friendly
device equipped with wireless electronic bio-sensors that can be worn by the
patient. The device can detect changes in the health, alert the patient and transmit the
information to a health professional for appropriate intervention.
Smart Contact Lenses With Bio-Sensors
- It is known that blood sugar levels can be measured with
tears. To this end, several attempts have been
made to develop contact lenses that, when worn by the patient,.can be
used to monitor blood sugar
- Prior research had
succeeded in developing contact lenses for the purpose. However the major drawbacks were the use of opaque
electrodes in the contact lenses that blocked the view. Also the firm plastic material of the contact
lenses made wearing them impossible.
- The current study has tried to
overcome these issues and developed new smart contact lenses made of transparent and flexible
material. Also the electrodes are made of metal nanowires and highly
stretchable graphene sheets. Thus, the patient wearing the
contact lenses felt
comfortable and at ease.
- The use of a wireless antenna to read and transmit the information avoids
the use of a power source like battery.
- Intraocular pressure can be measured
by using the dielectric layers.
The dielectric layer is an electrically non-conductive layer, that divides
both positive and negative charges. The thickness of this layer varies from becoming thinner as the
intraocular pressure increases, to thickening as the intraocular pressure
decreases. The IOP sensor, embedded in the contact lenses detects the
change and sends the information to the wireless antenna.
- The contact lenses retained their
ability to detect changes in blood sugar levels and intraocular pressure
changes even if they became deformed or exposed to various substances
present in the tears.
the safety and possible discomfort of wearing these smart contact lenses, Joohee
Kim (Combined M.S./Ph.D. student of Materials Science and Engineering), the
first author of the study said, "It was observed that the live rabbit did
not show any abnormal behavior when wearing the contact lens sensor."
of this Research
Should the safety and efficacy device be
established in clinical trials, then a day may come when such smart devices
with wireless bio-sensors can be used to monitor and treat several human
"This study can be used to diagnose
implementing two types of transparent electronic sensors in the production of
smart contact lens sensors," said Professor Park. "We are now a step
closer to the implementation of a fictional idea for a smart contact lens in
the films, like "Minority Report" and "Mission: Impossible."
- Diabetes - Key Facts - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/)