Smart contact lens tracks glaucoma disease progression

A smart contact lens may one day help track the progression of glaucoma and identify glaucoma patients facing higher disease risks.

Columbia University Medical Center researchers, for a study published recently in the journal Ophthalmology, outfitted glaucoma patients with a sensor-connected lens for a 24-hour timeframe. The lens collected and sent data regarding eye pressure changes to a portable device and results indicated that pressure peaks in the evening, and more peaks overall, indicate a faster rate of disease progression.

The insight, according to an announcement, could help physicians determine best treatment course and whether current treatments are proving effective.

"What we see in these measurements is a signature that indicates which glaucoma patients will get worse and which are relatively stable, which you can't do with a one-time eye pressure measurement," study author C. Gustavo De Moraes, M.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center, said in the announcement.

Smart mobile health technologies are gaining greater attention given the advancement of sensor capabilities. One study revealed sensor-based care coordination can help the elderly live healthier, more independent lives. Another report found that eight out of 10 smartphone users anticipate using advanced sensory technologies to gain health insight in relation to memory, hearing and vision. 

The Columbia University Medical Center study involved testing the lens on 40 patients for over two years, ranging in age from 40 to 89, diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma. The Sensimed Triggerfish contact lens system, used in the study, is approved in Europe but does not currently have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

For more information:
- read the study
- read the announcement