Contact lenses can be used smartly, such as Corneal Reshaping Therapy applied to alter the power of the eye non-surgically and reduce the need for glasses. The current issue of the New Scientist, one of my favorite periodicals out of the UK, features a nifty piece that takes contact lens intelligence to an entirely new level. Sensimed, a Swiss biotech company, has launched the first commercially viable soft lens to augment the treatment of glaucoma.
Although the video below may not be in your native language, through it’s nice pictorial overview you can gain a sense of how the lens works.
Sensitive platinum strain gauges embedded in Sensimed’s Triggerfish smart contact lens record changes in the curvature of the cornea, which correspond directly to changes in pressure within the eye. The lens transmits information wirelessly at regular intervals to a portable recording device worn by the patient. This enables 24/7 monitoring of periods of peak eye intraocular pressure, establishing the chronobiology of the disease. You can envision how this might be applied, perhaps in modulating the timing of the patient’s medication, or through biofeedback. therapy. Early reports on the efficacy of the this technology are promising.
Babak Parviz, a researcher at U. Wash in Seattle will present his results on the use of this micro/nano contact lens technology to monitor blood glucose levels in tears at the MEMS meeting in Cancun next week. Establishing a personal chronobiology for daily fluctuation in blood sugar levels is as crucial in managing diabetes as establishing a natural diurnal curve for IOP is in managing glaucoma. Parviz and his colleagues are also working on smart contact lens technology for augmented reality and 3D applications. Science fiction circa mid 1970s, of cyborgs, six million dollar men and bionic women, may soon be our reality.