People suffering from glaucoma know the struggles of keeping their intraocular pressure (IOP) in check in tandem with timely medication.

To make the life of patients afflicted with this ocular disease easier, scientists have created an innovative smart contact lens that can measure IOP in real-time, and initiate drug release to mitigate the situation.

A research team at Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea has developed a smart contact lens that consists of an IOP sensor and a drug delivery system to manage IOP measurement and medication administration. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

In patients with glaucoma, the optic nerve is affected due to the increased IOP due to the blockage of the drainage canal in the eye. The disease reduces peripheral vision and, in extreme cases, it can lead to vision loss, according to MedicalXpress.

It is a disease that requires lifetime management of IOP. Imagine what automatic monitoring and control of the IOP in these patients could mean for them.

Current IOP sensors for glaucoma patients lack the ability to administer the adequate amount of drug commensurate with the IOP levels.

The smart contact lens is made of hollow nanowires made of gold integrated with a flexible drug delivery system, wireless power and communication system, and an application-specific integrated circuit chip for both monitoring and control of IOP in glaucoma.

“Taken together, the intraocular pressure levels can be successfully monitored and controlled by the theranostic smart contact lens in glaucoma-induced rabbits. This theranostic smart contact lens would be harnessed as a futuristic personal healthcare platform for glaucoma and other ocular diseases,” researchers wrote in their paper.

Additionally, the feedback system can be applied to wearable devices other than contact lenses.

"We hope the early commercialization of the newly developed theranostic smart contact lens for diagnosing and treating glaucoma intraocular pressure to provide glaucoma patients' compliance," Professor Sei Kwang Hahn, who led this study noted.

Another contact lens invention is the news. A group of researchers from California's Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation has created what are perhaps the ultimate contact lenses by adding microchannels in each lens to allow the movement of tears. The innovative contact lens prototype aims to make contact lens-induced dry eye (CLIDE) a thing of the past. CLIDE is mainly caused by the restricted flow of tears from the contact lens's outer surface to the surface isolated behind the lens. This can lead to excessive tear evaporation and CLIDE-related problems.