They create a smart contact lens to treat glaucoma

The glaucoma It is an eye disease that is due to an increase in intraocular pressure that causes the optic nerve atrophy and leads to the blindness if it is not detected and treated in time. Currently, it is estimated that it affects some 80 million people worldwide, and one of the challenges it poses for doctors is that it usually goes unnoticed at the beginning because it does not manifest itself until vision has deteriorated irreversibly. Therefore, going to the ophthalmologist for regular check-ups is the best way to prevent complications.

Once the disease has been diagnosed, it is necessary to control the patient’s intraocular pressure periodically, in addition to administering the treatment indicated by the specialist depending on the type of glaucoma and its causes. The monitoring and automatic control of intraocular pressure or IOP would contribute to improving the quality of life of these people, something that could become a reality thanks to a smart contact lens which can measure intraocular pressure levels and administer the necessary drugs.

This device has been developed by a group of scientists from ATTITUDE (Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea), who have combined an IOP sensor and a flexible drug delivery system. Unlike other IOP sensors available, this theranostic wireless contact lens (which combines diagnosis with therapy) is able to deliver the appropriate amount of a drug based on the IOP levels detected, according to the results of a study published in Nature Communications.

Contact lens measures intraocular pressure and delivers drugs

The smart contact lens is composed of hollow nanowires made of gold and integrates with a flexible drug delivery system, a wireless power and communication system, and an application IC chip for IOP monitoring and control. in patients with glaucoma. The IOP sensor, in particular, has shown high sensitivity to eye strain, excellent chemical stability, and biocompatibility. In addition, the flexible drug delivery system allows timolol to be delivered on demand to control intraocular pressure.

“We hope that the early commercialization of the smart contact lens for diagnosing and treating intraocular pressure could facilitate the treatment of glaucoma patients”

Researchers conducted a study in which they have shown that theranostic smart contact lens allows measure IOP in real time and release the appropriate amount of drug to equalize the degree of IOP in rabbits with glaucoma. Now, they trust that this device can be used in the personalized glaucoma treatment effectively and without side effects. The feedback system they have created could also be applied to other portable devices.

Professor Sei Kwang Hahn, who led this study, said: “We hope that early commercialization of the newly developed theranostic smart contact lens for diagnosing and treating glaucoma intraocular pressure may facilitate the treatment of glaucoma patients.”


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