By Adrian Galbreth
Experts in London have developed a new type of contact lenses that they claim can help to detect the signs of glaucoma and curb cases of the condition.
According to specialists at the London Eye Hospital, a new single-use contact lens is able to detect glaucoma by monitoring pressure within the eye over a 24-hour period.
The electronic contact lens, known as Triggerfish, could make it much easier to diagnose glaucoma earlier and treat it more effectively, and thus has the potential to save the sight of thousands of patients, the experts claim.
The Triggerfish lens contains a microprocessor that is able to monitor fluctuations of intraocular pressure (IOP) continuously over a 24-hour period.
IOP is a leading risk factor for glaucoma, but with current screening techniques only a single reading is taken at one particular moment during an optician’s check-up.
As IOP is known to fluctuate throughout the day, however, this pressure could be high at certain times without the patient knowing, which is where Triggerfish differs.
It can monitor fluctuations during sleep, meaning patients wearing the Triggerfish lens can go about their daily lives and return to their doctor the next day, when the lens is removed and the data is downloaded onto a computer for immediate analysis.
Bobby Qureshi, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and medical director at the London Eye Hospital, said Triggerfish is an "extraordinary development" in the fight against glaucoma.
"Not only will the Triggerfish lens make it easier to diagnose glaucoma much earlier, but it can also be used to evaluate patients already diagnosed with glaucoma to monitor how well controlled the condition is and how effectively they are being treated. As a result, Triggerfish could help to save the sight of thousands of people in the UK," he added.
The announcement comes as eyecare professionals across the planet mark World Glaucoma Week, which aims to raise awareness of the blinding conditions, its symptoms, and its potential treatments.
by Adrian Galbreth