M2M Makes Connected Contact Lenses a Reality

High-tech contact lenses used to strictly be the stuff of James Bond or Batman stories. But M2M has turned fantasy into reality, at least to an extent. The connected contact lenses currently in development won’t be much use against bad guys, but they help ensure the eyes of the good guys stay healthy.

Sensimed AG, www.sensimed.ch, a company based in Switzerland, has developed the Sensimed Triggerfish, or as some might call it, a connected contact lens. The soft, hydrophilic, single-use lens is designed to continuously monitor a person’s IOP (intraocular pressure).
The device is largely intended to be used in the monitoring and treatment of glaucoma.
When the device is worn, embedded passive and active strain gauges continuously monitor fluctuations in the diameter of the eye’s corneoscleral junction. Data pertaining to IOP is sent wirelessly to an antenna, which is also inside the lens. That data can then be sent to a portable recorder, and then in turn be sent to a medical professional’s computer via Bluetooth.

Though the Sensimed Triggerfish is not available in the United States yet, the company notes it can be used in the home, as well as hospitals or ambulances. It can be worn for 24 hours, and can even monitor IOP during sleep.

But no matter how useful the product in question is, the idea of a sensor or an antenna being placed on the eyeball is likely an uncomfortable idea for many. Questions regarding the device’s safety are almost inevitable.

Safety was the primary focus of a 2011 study sponsored by Sensimed AG, designed to test the safety of the Triggerfish. The study focused on 40 patients who either had, or were suspected to have glaucoma. Each individual participated in two 24-hour IOP monitoring sessions, with one week between them. They were allowed to pursue their daily activities, and their sleep behaviour was not monitored.

The study found the Sensimed Triggerfish to be safe, tolerable, and effective in terms of reproducing results. This suggests the product may indeed be useful in the treatment of glaucoma patients.

The very idea of technology housed in a contact lens seems like something out of a science fiction movie. But the reality of it is M2M and connected devices are expanding the realms of science and technology to the point where life is imitating art.

Want to tweet about this article? Use the hashtags #M2M, #connected

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June/July 2014
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