Contact Lenses That Can Measure Glucose Levels – What’s Next?
Ellisha Rader Mannering
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Diabetes is a common, but often life threatening disease that affects millions of people all over the world. One of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to diabetes is checking blood sugar levels. Some diabetics have to prick their fingers and test their blood several times a day. This can be a major inconvenience and also very painful.
Several companies including Google, are currently working on a new product that will make checking blood glucose levels much easier. In fact, diabetics won’t even have to check their levels at all. Contact Lenses are currently being equipped with tiny wireless chips that will test glucose levels through tears.
All body fluids have slight amounts of glucose in them, and tears can be tested the same way as blood. The small chip will be installed between two layers of the contact lenses, so the wearer will not feel it or even know it’s there.
These contact lenses could make it much easier for diabetics to be aware of their glucose levels and allow them to stop pricking their fingers several times a day to test blood. These contact lenses would be especially beneficial to the elderly and children, both of which often have a hard time checking their blood sugar with traditional methods.
Sounds great right? Well, don’t get too excited because it could still be several years before these contact lenses make it onto the market. Google is currently working with the Food and Drug Administration to have the project approved. Another company, Sensimed is working on a similar type of contact lens.
“We’re in discussions with the FDA, but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use. We’re not going to do this alone: we plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market. These partners will use our technology for a smart contact lens and develop apps that would make the measurements available to the wearer and their doctor. We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange, and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation (PDF) is declaring that the world is “losing the battle” against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot,” Google said on their blog.
What do you think of this new project?
Image via YouTube.