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Contact lenses may soon measure blood sugar in tears

Fundus photo showing scatter laser surgery for diabetic retinopathy
Fundus photo showing scatter laser surgery for diabetic retinopathy
NIH (public domain)

Google has announced plans to manufacture a special contact lens for diabetics that will be able to help them monitor blood sugar levels by measuring their tears via miniature, flexible electronics, sensors and antennae. The lens would then alert those wearing them when their blood sugar levels are too high or too low. According to the company, this would also “free them from the need for frequent finger pricks to check blood sugar, and enable them to manage their levels better, and (perhaps) help avoid diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye disease that damages the retina and can lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy currently effects about 50% of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes.

Other ways diabetics can protect their eyes include: drinking plenty of purified water daily; eating cold water fish several times a week; increasing intake of fiber; eating meals slowly; avoiding cortisone (which can raise sugar levels) and other medicines not really needed; and performing 12 minutes of yoga exercises daily to reduce inflammation in the eyes.

While the device still needs to get approval from the US Food and Drug Administration According to a report on Good Morning America, Google has already received a patent for the sensors in April. However, they would need FDA approval before they could market them to the public.