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In the Future, Smart Contact Lenses May Change Diabetics’ Lives

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Having diabetes is a life-altering experience. A person with diabetes must vigilantly track and monitor their blood glucose levels. From carefully planning meals and when to exercise to  glucose testing and timing medications, managing diabetes can be complicated and time-consuming.

Fortunately, innovators in the healthcare field are always driving technologies forward to make life simpler for those who need it most. One of the most intriguing recent examples is the development of smart contact lenses that can help in the diagnosis, management and treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related glaucoma.

The Smart Contact Lens: Promising Findings

A number of smart contact lenses have been in the R & D  stage in recent years, but one of the most promising of these devices was created by a research team at South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology, and announced on April 28, 2020. According to the researchers, the lens has the potential to diagnose, monitor and treat diabetes by using electrical signals to manage the administering of medicine to the user.

In an article published in the January 2018 edition of Science Advances, the team showed that, when tested on animal subjects, the lenses accurately measured blood glucose levels by analyzing rabbits’ tears.

As conceived for humans, the technology would use microchips embedded in a biocompatible polymer contact lens to determine a person’s blood glucose levels by analyzing the blood vessels at the back of their eyelids. If those levels were to drop below a certain safe measurement, the device would issue a warning.

Though this technology is still in the research and development stage, it and many other innovations could one day change the lives of individuals with diabetes.

At Eye Mechanix, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

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How can diabetes affect my vision?

Extended periods of elevated blood sugar caused by diabetes can damage the blood vessels inside the eye, causing them to leak. This bleeding results in damage to the retina and a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Floating spots
  • Vision loss

Diabetes can also cause swelling in the part of the eye responsible for fine detail and close-up work, known as the macula. This swelling is known as macular edema, and it can result in significant vision loss or even total blindness.

Are smart contact lenses for diabetics available to buy?

Although findings have been promising, smart contact lenses for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of diabetes and related glaucoma are still in the research and development stage.