Colour-changing contact lenses could replace painful skin prick tests for diabetics


By CLAIRE BATES

PUBLISHED: 06:51 EST, 24 May 2012 UPDATED: 06:51 EST, 24 May 2012


 

Millions of diabetes sufferers face the daily grind of frequent skin prick tests to monitor their blood sugar levels.

Now researchers have developed an innovative alternative that could reveal the same information in the blink of an eye.

A team from The University of Akron have developed a contact lens that senses glucose which is the blood sugar in tears, the natural fluid that bathes the eye.

 
This picture from the University of Akron shows a simulation of how the contact lens would work

 

Eye-opener: This picture from the University of Akron shows a simulation of how the contact lens would work

If sugar is not being metabolised properly and glucose concentration builds up in the body, the contact lens will detect a problem and change colour.

It works just like pH paper in your high school chemistry lab,’ said Dr Jun Hu.

‘The sugar molecule literally acts like the proton in a pH test, displacing a colour dye embedded in the lens, and the lens changes colour.’ 



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