With a double coating, smart lenses can detect increased intraocular pressure through sensors and release an antiglaucoma drug to relieve pressure and thus prevent blindness.
Contact lenses as we know them today are destined to become more elaborate. In addition, some types of lenses today are already more than a simple device to correct vision immediately. If worn at night, they can improve vision for several hours. But thanks to scientific advances, they could go further and treat certain eye diseases, including glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
Chinese researchers succeeded in developing a new type of lens capable of detecting increased eye pressure, one of the common causes of glaucoma, and releasing a drug to lower the pressure. So far, the device has only been tested in pig and rabbit eyes, but the results are encouraging.
Help millions of people around the world
Developing a way to treat glaucoma would prevent millions of people from losing their sight, partially or not. This disease, which actually encompasses several forms, is the result of excessive pressure in the eye that has damaged the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain.
Many studies are trying to find a solution to combat this increased pressure inside the eye. Some have already considered wearing smart glasses that could detect a rise in pressure or deliver a drug, but not both. This is where the Chinese researchers’ study stands out, as their device combines both aspects.
A serious technical challenge
Integrating electrical circuits and sensors into thin, curved, flexible contact lenses is a real technical challenge. The device must be sensitive enough to detect changes in pressure and deliver precise amounts of medication, without blocking vision or irritating the eye. science alert.
“It is very difficult to install a complex theranostic system consisting of several modules in a contact lens,” the researchers write in their article. They still managed to make a prototype integrating several sensors that do not irritate the wearer’s eye.
The device was developed to treat acute angle-closure glaucoma, a rare form that causes a sudden or gradual increase in fluid pressure in the eye.
How does it work ?
The lens is coated with an antiglaucoma drug and forms an ultrathin film of air. The electrical circuit to which the airbag is connected detects changes in intraocular pressure depending on whether the bag is compressed or not. When the pressure reaches a certain level, the wireless system triggers the release of antiglaucoma medication.
“The conception of the double-coated lens allows for a compact structure of multiple electronic modules positioned in the region of the edge of the contact lens”, which means that it does not devrait to block the flight of porteurs, écrivent the seekers.
Early results in animal eyeballs were encouraging, but more research is needed before the lenses are used in humans. The researchers also believe that their design could be extended to treat other eye diseases.
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