New contact lens (CL) technology designed to help diagnose and monitor medical conditions may soon be ready for clinical trials, revealed Purdue University researchers.
The Indiana-based US team, including engineers, physicians and clinicians, has developed a bioinstrumentation tool using commercial soft CLs for unobtrusive monitoring of clinically important information associated with underlying ocular health conditions, said study lead Associate Professor Chi Hwan Lee. Sensors and other electronics couldn’t be used with commercial soft CLs before because the fabrication technology required a rigid, planar surface incompatible with the soft, curved shape of a CL. However, the Purdue team has overcome this hurdle, creating seamless integration of ultrathin, stretchable biosensors with commercial soft CLs via wet adhesive bonding, said A/Prof Lee. “This technology will be greatly beneficial to the painless diagnosis or early detection of many ocular diseases, including glaucoma.”
The biosensors on the soft CL record electrophysiological retinal activity from the corneal surface, without the need for topical anaesthesia. “This will allow doctors and scientists to better understand spontaneous retinal activity with significantly improved accuracy, reliability and user comfort,” said clinical trial lead Associate Professor Pete Kollbaum.
The study was published in Nature Communications.