New so-called "smart contact lenses" are now being developed to help the growing number of glaucoma and diabetes patients.
These smart contacts are designed to measure levels of glucose and/or intraocular pressure in the patient's' eyes. This data can then easily help both patients and doctors better manage various eye conditions before they lead to blindness.
These new contacts are designed with two layers of soft lenses and very small holes on the outer layers. These small holes allow the eyes' tears to naturally enter into the sensor chambers. The sensors are then able to pick up all the levels of various chemicals in the eyes and then send a report to a wireless device. The contacts use an antenna roughly the size of one strand of human hair to communicate this information.
One popular set of smart contacts, which were designed by the Swiss-based company SENSIMED, is called href=”http://www.medgadget.com/2016/11/smart-contact-lens-market-global-industry-analysis-and-forecast-till-2026.html”> Triggerfish Triggerfish contact lenses. These Triggerfish lenses were designed specifically for glaucoma patients and they can be worn in 24-hour intervals.
Triggerfish lenses have been approved by the FDA as of March, 2016.
New technologies like Triggerfish are desperately needed to help glaucoma patients keep track of their eye pressures. The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute recently said that around 60.5 million people around the world are suffering with glaucoma right now. Unfortunately, that number is only expected to rise to 79.6 million by the year 2020. Ophthalmologists need better ways to administer patient care if they are going to meet these challenges effectively.
In terms of diabetes projections, the numbers are also very alarming for eye care professionals. The American Diabetes Association recently reported that diabetes patients have a far greater likelihood of developing serious eye complications in their lifetimes. For example, diabetics have a 40 percent higher likelihood of developing glaucoma than non-diabetics. This association also found that diabetics have a 60 percent increased chance of developing cataracts than non-diabetics.
The rapid rise in glaucoma and diabetes cases is the main reason why so many smart contact lenses are being developed today. Some other factors driving this smart contact innovation include the increasingly aging population, the prevalence of cataracts, and the increased demand for easy-to-use self-monitoring devices.
Another company looking to get involved in the smart contact lens space is Google. Google executives are actively working with the company Alcon to produce smart contacts that can detect blood glucose levels. These contacts, however, won't be launched until around 2021. Google hopes these smart lenses will revolutionize the way diabetics think about monitoring blood glucose levels.
As of today, North America is the leader in the global smart contact lens market. Many European countries, especially UK,France, Denmark, and Spain, also have strong smart contact markets.
Besides Google and SENSIMED, there are other well-known companies getting involved in this exciting new industry. Just a few of these companies include Samsung Electronics, Innovega, and Novartis.