Can A Contact Lens Help Diagnose Glaucoma?
A company called Sensimed is improving the early diagnosis of glaucoma with a “wired” contact lens. One of the dilemmas in understanding early glaucoma detection is testing the eye pressure at the right time. Eye doctors have found eye pressure fluctuates throughout the day and a single reading may yield the pressure at a low point giving a false impression of the state of health of the eyes. That is why patients that are suspected of having glaucoma are often seen by their optometrist at different times of the day to retest the pressure. While this does help in getting a more accurate idea of the true eye pressure, it is not practical to return every few hours in the middle of the night for glaucoma testing, thus the need for something like the new Triggerfish Contact Lens.
Triggerfish Contact Lens To Allow 24 Hour Monitoring Of Eye Pressure
The Triggerfish contact lens system consists of the contact lens, an antenna, and a recording and transmission unit. The contact lens has strain gauges to detect changes in curvature at the edge of the cornea (the clear tissue covering the colored iris). The changes in curvature correlate with changes in eye pressure. An antenna resembling a patch around the eye is attached for the 24 hour test. This antenna is tethered by a thin cable to a recording device worn on the patients belt. The antenna provides power to the contact lens by induction, a wireless method of transmitting electrical current.
Once the contact lens has been fit to the patients eye curvature, the device transmits data to the recorder for the next 24 hours. Eye doctors have found eye pressure tends to be highest at night, so a 24 hour cycle is important in detecting the highest pressure levels the patient is at risk for developing. After the 24 hours, the patient returns to the eye doctors office and the data is uploaded to a computer by Bluetooth.
Early Detection Of Eye Presuure Prevents Blindness
Early intervention in glaucoma can prevent blindness. Studies have found that some early damage to the optic nerve can be reversed by treatment. The Triggerfish contact lens is currently undergoing clinical trials for the U.S. but is already available in parts of Europe. This is potentially a sight saving test that has been needed for years.
Someday the contact lens you wear for vision correction may have dual functions as a health monitoring device. Beam me up!