Google Smart Contact Lens Project

Google brought an exciting new project to us: Smart contact lenses! For now this is intended only for diabetic patients. If the project comes to fruition, patients can at last stop pricking their fingers and testing the blood. Instead the LEDs incorporated in the contact lens will indicate the glucose levels.

Very exciting and promising idea. The only problem being the following:

Diabetes has an effect on the eye, as it does the rest of the body. Most diabetics are familiar with the risk of diabetic retinopathy, complications inside the eye from the disease. It also affects the front surface of the eye, or the cornea. Patients with diabetes may notice dryness more often and more severely than non-diabetic patients.In some patients, this dryness is not severe enough to prohibit contact lens wear. But dryness is only the initial concern. Diabetics tend to heal more slowly than individuals without diabetes. This is true for the eye as well as other tissues of the body. Contact lenses increase the risk of corneal ulcers and infections, both of which are of more concern to a diabetic patient due to the lengthened healing time.This does not mean that individuals with diabetes canít wear contact lenses. Make sure to let your eye care provider know if you have diabetes as it may impact the choice of lenses or solutions. It is also important to remember to follow the wearing and care schedule your practitioner gives you in order to minimize the increased risk contact lenses have for patients with diabetes.

Source: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

It is beyond me how their considerable amount of money and talent could not be used for a more practical approach. Although very exciting, the idea seems stupid now.

Also read: GigaOm’s take.


4 thoughts on “Google Smart Contact Lens Project

  1. And… what is it going to tell you… you are high, you are low… not good enough, diabetics want to see a glucose number… 100, 140 180 400,,, just telling you that you are “high” doesn’t mean much.
    But… the idea of being able to simply test your glucose level with tears… not that is interesting,,, how about a glucometer that measures tears instead of blood… now that would be worthwhile. i’d rather put a tear on my strip than prick my finger (again)

  2. I am not saying a non-invasive way of testing is not welcome. Offcourse it is. As I can see it you will also get numbers (in your smartphone for example). Initially the LEDs will be for indicating that you have crossed a threshold. As it takes reading every one minute…you will be able to take much faster decisions.

    But tears are harder to come by than blood. “Putting a tear on the strip” may not be as easy as it sounds 🙂 Especially if you are one of those people suffering from eye problems.

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