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Googles Contact Lenses to Measure Glucose Levels as a CGMS

Could finger pricking soon become a thing of the past?… 

The team which headed the creation of Google Glass, GoogleX, is currently working on a contact lens for diabetics which would be able to sense glucose levels and report the reading to the wearer’s smart phone. The lens consists of two computer chips, a glucose sensor, and a tiny antenna embedded in flexible plastic and sandwiched between two layers of materials generally used in the manufacturing of common contact lenses. The components are so tiny, the wearer would not be able to see or feel any difference between normal contact lenses when they are in place.

In order to measure the glucose level in the tears of the wearer, a tiny pore is made on the inner layer of the contact to allow the fluid to flow onto the glucose sensor. The glucose readings are then transmitted to the user’s smart device via a single embedded antenna which is thinner than a human hair. The contacts measure the glucose levels once every second.

The reported glucose levels according to a person’s tears may have a slight lag in levels when compared to a direct blood sample, but the team reports that the short lag would have no real world significance to the readings. Another potential feature which may be in the works for these lenses would be to add in a small LED light that could signal colors which would only be seen by the wearer when glucose levels are too high or too low. This may be a helpful feature for diabetics who want the lenses but do not have a smart phone.

Practice Pearls:
  • The same team which developed Google Glass is currently developing glucose sensing contact lenses which can measure a wearer’s glucose levels every second.
  • The contact lenses send glucose readings to the wearer’s smart phone via a tiny embedded antenna.
  • When compared to blood glucose readings, the fluid in the eye has a slight lag in glucose readings, but these slight lags would not be significant in the real-world setting.

Healthline, January 2014