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A New Approach for Diagnosing Glaucoma

Posted on: May 31st, 2024 by Our Team

A study published recently in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, reported on researchers in the UK and Turkey who have developed a contact lens which can detect changes in eye pressure which signals possible glaucoma. (1)  The contact lenses they are developing contain micro-sensors that monitor changes in IOP (intraocular pressure) over a period of several hours. The data is then collected wirelessly to be analyzed by an ophthalmologist and a diagnosis then provided. (2)  The findings are from their initial pilot study of 6 participants. Once the technology is determined to be successful, the researchers expect to continue with additional research that will include a larger group of participants. The lenses will be marketed and sold through GlakoLens, a spin-off company.


A major benefit identified for using the GlackoLens contact lenses to diagnose glaucoma instead of a traditional exam is the measurements can easily be completed over a longer period of time, thus providing a more accurate diagnosis.  Hamad Torun, PhD, one of the principal researchers said, “Intra-ocular pressure can vary greatly over a 24-hour period, so it is important to monitor the patient either at intervals or ideally continuously for a whole day to get the best insight into the health of their eyes. (1)  He also commented that traditional methods for measuring IOP involve going to a clinic for a single measurement in a day, but the result can be misleading due to the natural variation of IOP.

Torun claims the benefit of the contact lenses they have developed are that once placed in the eye, the patient can then conduct their normal daily activities while the IOP measurements are recorded and sent to the ophthalmologist for analysis once the 24 hour period of testing is complete.  The new lenses have been tested with 6 healthy volunteers during which time they were asked to drink 1.5 liters of water and lie flat to intentionally increase their IOP levels, (2)

These lenses are not the first developed to measure IOP as earlier products have used an electrically active silicone chip.  This, however, resulted in a thicker, less comfortable lens.  The chip also prompted the lens to be less flexible, thereby restricting vision and making it more difficult to conduct daily normal activities.

The GlakoLens uses an electrically passive sensor embedded in a disposable soft contact lens and a wearable electronic readout system to collect, store and process the data.  This makes the lens more comfortable allowing the patient to more easily carry out their normal routine.  The researchers conjecture that in addition to diagnosing glaucoma, it is possible the lenses could be used to detect other health conditions by measuring glucose, lactic acid and other molecules in the eye.

Impact of Glaucoma

Even though glaucoma impacts about 70 million people globally, close to half of those living with glaucoma are unaware they have this condition.  Since glaucoma can develop slowly, a diagnosis is often made only during routine eye exams.  This can be problematic because lasting damage may have already been sustained.

It is important to have regular exams and particularly because it enables the Ophthalmologist or Optometrist to detect any evidence of glaucoma. Union Square Eyecare physicians are available to provide these exams.

  • Contact lens and Anterior Eye, December 19, 2003
  • Contact lenses to diagnose glaucoma, EurekAlert

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