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Smart contact lenses can monitor glaucoma and give medication as needed

Wireless contact lenses that monitor intraocular pressure and deliver glaucoma medications on demand are being tested in animals


May 17, 2022

View of the retina of the eye with glaucoma

Paul Parker / Science Photo Library

Wireless contact lens devices may help treat glaucoma in the condition of the eye by monitoring the buildup of pressure in the eye and automatically delivering the drug when it becomes too high.

Glaucoma, according to some estimates, affects about 80 million people worldwide, resulting in increased intraocular pressure and visual signals to the brain due to inadequate drainage of water from the eye. The transmitting optic nerve can be damaged.

This condition is usually treated with medications given in the form of eye drops that help drain excess water from the eyes.But people may fail to stick to their treatment schedule, See Shie Sun Yat-Sen University and his colleagues in Guangzhou, China.

They designed a prototype contact lens device that can sense intraocular pressure and release glaucoma medications as needed. On the outer layer of the lens, there are six small copper plates arranged in a ring around the pupil to detect eye deformation caused by increased intraocular pressure. An antenna located near the eyes then sends the data to a nearby computer. The inner layer of the lens, which is in contact with the corneal area of ​​the eye, is filled with a decompressant called brimonidine that can be emitted when the lens receives a signal from the computer through the antenna.

Researchers have tried lenses on rabbits without glaucoma. They first demonstrated that the device can monitor the animal’s intraocular pressure and send data wirelessly to an external computer. They then used a computer to wirelessly send a signal to the contact lens that caused the release of brimonidine.

Then, by tracking the rabbits, it was found that the intraocular pressure of the animals decreased by about one-third after 30 minutes and by an average of 40% or more after 2 hours.

“The realization of this technology for use in a point-of-care environment could revolutionize the lives of millions of glaucoma patients,” he said. Ali Yetisen At Imperial College London. “It [would be] Great addition to [tools] Of an ophthalmologist. “

However, further research is needed to assess how well the device works in humans.

Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29860-x

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Smart contact lenses can monitor glaucoma and give medication as needed

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