New Smart Contact Lens for Diabetics

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June 4, 2018 | Originally published by Date Line: June 4 on

A team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has recently introduced a new biosensing contact lens capable of detecting glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

This breakthrough has been jointly conducted by Professor Jang-Ung Park in the School of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Franklin Bien in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNIST in collaboration with Professor Jung Heon Lee in the School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University.

According to the research team, this innovative smart lens with built-in pliable, transparent electronics can monitor glucose levels from tears in the eye. The device has not yet been tested in humans. However, the research team expects that the release of this device will offer diabetics a pain-free way to measure their glucose levels with the blink of an eye. Their findings have been published in Science Advances, on January 25, 2018.

For patients with diabetes, monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels are extremely important because having high blood glucose levels for extended periods of time can lead to a host of diabetes complications. An enzyme based finger-pricking method is the most commonly used technology in diabetic assessment. However, such approach has been said to reduce compliance among diabetic patients.

In the last several decades, many attempts have been made to monitor glucose levels in tears with smart contact lenses, but they are often not used due to poor wearability.

To solve contact lens discomfort issues, Professor Park and his research team have unveiled a new smart contact lens that uses electrodes made up of highly stretchable and transparent materials. This clear, flexible lens also contains a glucose sensor that sends electrical signals to an LED. With this sensor, patients can transmit their health information in real-time using the embedded wireless antenna in the lens.