These contact lenses measure intraocular pressure and deliver glaucoma medications

Xie Xi, a professor at sun yat-sen University’s School of Electronics and Information Engineering, has developed a contact lens that can wirelessly sense intraocular pressure and deliver glaucoma drugs on demand. These flexible contact lenses require no batteries, have a compact design, or become a promising glaucoma treatment system. The results were recently published in Nature Newsletter.

Glaucoma (and related diseases) can lead to irreversible vision loss caused by an abnormal circulation of fluid in the eye that causes increased intraocular pressure. Because intraocular pressure fluctuates with human activity and circadian rhythms, long-term and continuous monitoring of eye conditions is required, which also makes treatment difficult. Therapeutic diagnostic devices that combine therapeutics and diagnostics can monitor confirmed symptoms and perform appropriate treatment.

Xie’s team has developed a therapeutic diagnostic contact lens that measures intraocular pressure using electrosensing technology and delivers medications as needed. The device was tested in the eyes of pigs and rabbits and was able to detect changes in intraocular pressure. When the detected intraocular pressure rises to a high-risk level, the drug delivery module (powered by wireless power transmission) allows glaucoma drugs to be delivered through the corneal barrier to the anterior chamber of the eye.


Schematic of real-time and in situ IOP monitoring and administration. Image source: Author of the paper

They found that the manufacture of such contact lenses was compatible with existing large-scale, cost-effective production processes. But they also noted that further research is needed before it can enter clinical trials. (Source: China Science Daily Feng Lifei)

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