Thursday, July 10, 2008

Smart contact lens feels the pressure of glaucoma

New Scientist reported, "A contact lens with a built-in pressure sensor that could help monitor" certain eye conditions was recently designed by scientists at the University of California-Davis. Using polydimethylsiloxane, "an elastic, transparent, and gas-permeable organic polymer," the researchers produced "a tiny pressure sensor, which they bent into the shape of a contact lens. Such a device could measure the stress on the cornea surface, and the fluid pressure within the eye to monitor glaucoma and ocular hypertension." Researcher Tingrui Pan explained that in glaucoma patients, rising pressure within the eye changes its shape, "which would deform the contact lens sensor." A prototype model "has an opaque sensor that would impair vision, and so would be worn only briefly," but the research team is "designing transparent equivalents that could be worn for long periods to give a continuous pressure read-out."


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