Glaucoma affects approximately 70 million people worldwide and poses a significant threat to vision, often leading to irreversible vision loss if left untreated. Nearly half of those afflicted with this condition remain unaware of its presence.
Typically progressing gradually, glaucoma often escapes early detection, making it crucial to develop new tools for its timely diagnosis and treatment.
The contact lenses are designed with patient comfort in mind, utilizing electrically passive sensors embedded in disposable soft contact lenses.
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In a groundbreaking development, researchers from Northumbria University in the UK and Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Türkiye, have introduced contact lenses embedded with micro-sensors capable of detecting changes in intraocular pressure (IOP) – a vital indicator of glaucoma risk.
Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, connecting the eye to the brain, sustains damage, often due to the buildup of fluid in the front part of the eye, leading to increased intraocular pressure. Without timely intervention, this condition can lead to significant vision impairment.
A visionary solution: Innovative contact lenses
The pioneering research conducted by Prof. Hamdi Torun from Northumbria University, in collaboration with Prof. Günhan Dündar and Arda D. Yalcinkaya from Boğaziçi University, has resulted in the creation of contact lenses equipped with micro-sensors. These lenses continuously monitor changes in IOP over several hours and wirelessly transmit the collected data. Ophthalmologists can then analyze this data, potentially facilitating early glaucoma diagnosis and treatment.
These innovative contact lenses are poised to make a significant impact for several reasons. Traditional glaucoma examinations often yield single measurements taken during a clinic visit, which may not capture the natural variations in IOP. Moreover, repeated measurements require hospitalization for a full day, making the process cumbersome for patients and the healthcare system.
The GlakoLens contact lenses offer a more convenient and accurate alternative. Once inserted into the eye, patients can resume their daily activities while their IOP measurements are continuously recorded. This comprehensive data can then be analyzed by healthcare professionals.
A glimpse into the future
The GlakoLens contact lenses are designed with patient comfort in mind, utilizing electrically passive sensors embedded in disposable soft contact lenses. This approach ensures a more comfortable wearing experience without compromising vision or daily activities.
Beyond glaucoma, there is also potential for these contact lenses to detect other health conditions by measuring molecules such as glucose and lactic acid present in the eye. "We believe this technology has huge potential and could not only save the sight of patients in the early stages of glaucoma but also provide early diagnosis of other diseases in the future," states Professor Torun.
This breakthrough in contact lens technology offers hope to millions at risk of undetected glaucoma and paves the way for early diagnosis of various health conditions. As the research progresses, it promises to be a vision-saving development that will transform eye health diagnostics.
MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Northumbria University Newcastle