New Google contact lens could monitor diabetics' blood sugars

New technology tests glucose levels in tears

Google last week revealed that it is testing prototype contact lenses that monitor blood sugar levels—an invention that could eliminate daily finger-prick tests for diabetics.

The "smart contact lenses" measure glucose levels in tears using a microchip embedded in the contact. It then transmits the glucose data to a mobile device. The prototype already has been the subject of a few clinical research studies, and the company now is in talks with FDA.

Additionally, Google is looking into using the device as an early warning system for wearers. Specifically, it may integrate small LED lights that would light up to suggest that glucose levels have reached certain thresholds.

"There's still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use," Google said in a statement, adding, "We plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market. These partners will use our technology for a smart contact lens and develop apps that would make the measurements available to the wearer and their doctor" (Oreskovic, Reuters, 1/17; Landen, Modern Healthcare, 1/17 [subscription required]; Risen, U.S. News & World Report, 1/17).

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