• Michelle Hebert

Smart contact lenses may be able to monitor blood sugar

Smart contact lenses have been created by Korean researches to measure blood sugar levels. The lenses contain sensors that may be able to accurately measure the glucose levels in a person’s body using tears. This new device is the most current attempt to use technology to monitor blood sugar levels without needles.

The lenses are made from the same transparent, flexible material as some other soft contact lenses on the market. Researchers have embedded electronics into the lenses: little LED light and a glucose sensor, the Verge reported. The sensor uses electrodes made of highly stretchable and transparent materials that make the lenses easier to wear, according to Fox News. Researchers reported in the journal Science Advances that the LED light will flicker continuously if glucose levels rise above a certain amount, alerting the wearer.

Project leader Jihun Park, of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, told news service SWNS, "This strategy does not require the expensive tools or brittle components currently used in many 'smart' lenses, which can block the user's field of vision and even harm the eye," according to FOX News.

Jang-Ung Park at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea led scientists to test the contact lenses, the Verge reported. They used artificial tears that had been spiked with sugar to mimic high glucose levels measured in tears.

Multiple sources reported that the contact lenses have only been tested in rabbits’ eyes so far. In one study, an LED light indicating low blood sugar levels stayed on until a glucose solution was put into the rabbits’ eyes; this caused it to turn off, which is what it is supposed to do.