Scientists have successfully tested a sensor that can measure blood sugar levels from tears instead of blood, and advance that could reduce the practice of pricking fingers to test sugar levels in diabetes patients.

Mark Meyerhoff, a researcher at the University of Michigan, and colleagues said in a report that appears in the journal Analytical Chemistry that their tests with laboratory rabbits used as surrogates for humans showed that levels of glucose in tears track the amounts of glucose in blood.

"Thus, it may be possible to measure tear glucose levels multiple times per day to monitor blood glucose changes without the potential pain from the repeated invasive blood drawing method," the researchers wrote.

There was no mention of when or if the sensor could be incorporated into a commercial product.

Currently 5 percent of the world’s population has diabetes. There are about 26 million people in the U.S. with the disease.

The disease has risen along with obesity, which makes people susceptible to Type 2 diabetes.

Measuring glucose levels currently requires the use of a small pin or lancet to draw a drop of blood which is then measured by a meter.