Scientists Invent Contact Lens that Could Check Glucose Levels

Oct 04, 2016 08:56 AM EDT

Scientists have created a contact lens that could determine your glucose levels. This new invention introduces a non-invasive way to determine one's glucose level without the hassle of blood testing.

According to the study, published in the journal Advanced Materials, the contact lens is made from multiple layers of gold nanowires which are stacked on top of a gold film. The lens are then printed through solvent-assisted nanotransfer printing and features surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

What makes this contact lens unique is its use of layered nanoarray, which results to a flexible material compared with lens that are produced using traditional nanofabrication techniques like glass or silicon wafer.

Surfaced-enhanced Raman scattering, according to Science Daily, acts like a sensor that observes the way light interacts with a certain material to determine the latter's molecular makeup. The term "Raman" is named after Indian phycist C. V. Raman who discovered the said effect back in 1928.

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For the study, the researchers, led by Wei-Chuan Shih from the University of Houston, found that besides blood, glucose could also be found in tears. This led to the development of the glucose-sensing contact lens, which according to the study, is a nonivasive approach compared to traditional blood testing.

"It should be noted that glucose is present not only in the blood but also in tears, and thus accurate monitoring of the glucose level in human tears by employing a contact-lens-type sensor can be an alternative approach for noninvasive glucose monitoring," the researchers explained.

"Everyone knows tears have a lot to mine. The question is, whether you have a detector that is capable of mining it, and how significant is it for real diagnostics," Shih added.

The researchers said that the application of the lens and its technology will note be limited to glucose level checking -- it's just one of its various potential applications.

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