Cutting-Edge Contact Lenses: Revolutionizing Glaucoma Diagnosis through Eye Pressure MonitoringResearchers from Northumbria University in the UK and Boğaziçi University in Turkey have developed contact lenses with embedded sensors that can measure the pressure inside the eye. The data collected by these lenses is then sent to an ophthalmologist for evaluation. The hope is that these lenses, known as GlakoLens, will aid in the early diagnosis of glaucoma, a condition that can lead to irreversible vision loss if left untreated.

Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, is damaged due to increased intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure is usually caused by a buildup of fluid in the front part of the eye. The problem with glaucoma is that it develops slowly over time, causing harm before any vision loss occurs. By the time glaucoma is detected during routine eye tests, the damage may already be done.

However, the development of GlakoLens may change this. These contact lenses can detect fluctuations in IOP and use this information to diagnose glaucoma. Unlike traditional eye exams, GlakoLens allows for easier and more accurate IOP measurements over a longer period of time.

Hamdi Torun, the corresponding author of the study, explains the benefits of GlakoLens: “Intraocular pressure, or IOP, can vary greatly over a 24-hour period, so it is important to monitor the patient either at intervals or ideally continuously for a whole day to get the best insight into the health of their eyes.” Traditional methods for measuring IOP involve visiting a clinic for a single measurement, which can be misleading due to natural variations. GlakoLens eliminates the need for repeated measurements and hospitalization.

The researchers tested GlakoLens on six healthy volunteers by having them drink water and lie flat to intentionally increase their IOP. The contact lenses accurately responded to these changes, providing measurements that aligned with those taken by other devices.

Further experiments will be conducted to investigate the accuracy and reliability of GlakoLens using larger groups of healthy individuals. The researchers also plan to improve the comfort and non-invasiveness of the contact lenses in future iterations.

It’s worth noting that GlakoLens is not the first glaucoma-detecting contact lens to be developed. In previous studies, other contact lenses have been tested on animals or have measured IOP using different methods. However, GlakoLens distinguishes itself by offering a more comfortable and flexible experience for wearers.

In addition to diagnosing glaucoma, the researchers believe that their contact lenses could be used to detect other health conditions by measuring various molecules present in the eye, such as glucose and lactic acid.

The study was published in the journal Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, and the lenses are expected to be commercially available through the spin-off company GlakoLens.

Overall, this innovative development in contact lens technology has the potential to save the sight of patients in the early stages of glaucoma and provide early diagnosis for other diseases in the future.

Source: Northumbria University

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