Testing your glucose with a meter can be quite painful. Add to that having to play guitar with that finger and the pain level goes up. So when Google announced Thursday that they have just released a prototype of what they refer to as "the smart contact lens," diabetics pricked up their ears to the news they may no longer have to prick their fingers.
This lens is specifically designed for people with diabetes as a new way to monitor blood-sugar levels. Google Inc said on Thursday that the contact lens will be equipped with tiny chips and an antenna and can generate a reading of a tear's glucose level every second, potentially replacing the need for people with diabetes to prick their fingers and test drops of blood throughout the day.
"We're in discussions with the FDA, but there's still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use," Google said in a post on its official blog.
A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. This excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements. The usual method of monitoring sugar levels is with a meter and a prick of the finger.
"Many of us find blood glucose testing to be uncomfortable and have wondered when a painless solution to blood sugar testing would arrive" claims guitarist Richard George, who has suffered from Diabetes the past 17 years. "Being elderly one prick can end up bleeding for awhile, leaving my finger feeling bruised" George added.
Google has recently become more focused on health-related issues, and launched a separate company in September devoted to tackling diseases related to aging.