IC Optical are actively engaged in Research and Development in partnership with the University of Ceeland, activites include the development of lenses that may or may not have a direct optometry application. Technology developed can either be used in their stores or can be sold off to other companies. I found an article based on the development of a smart lense to help with the detection of glaucoma and wonder how this may appear within the tasks across all five variants. To find the original article click here.

The Research and Development section does bring up a few key issues, 3D printing of lenses, and the development of variable lenses and the integration of glasses with other devices. Check out my blog posts for Google Glass and the Samsung Smart Lens. I also blogged with reference to the military applications for lenses such as their use in Night Vision Goggles.

I do think these issues will be explored in more detail in the unseen element of your exam.

A Smart Contact Lens for Glaucoma Patients

Written by: Shirley Dang

Mar. 01, 2016

When a patient gets glaucoma, it can be difficult to know whether the disease will progress slowly or advance quickly, taking vision with it. A smart contact lens could help solve this problem.

A new study appearing in the journal Ophthalmology this April shows that electronic signals from a such smart contact lens can be used to predict which glaucoma patients may have a faster advancing version of the disease.

“This could be very useful if you want to know whether a new medication is working for a patient,” said study author C. Gustavo De Moraes, M.D., MPH, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center.  “You can see how their eye is reacting to the therapy in a much more meaningful way.”

Why eye pressure matters in glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States and affects nearly 3 million people. Pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP), is the only known controllable risk factor for glaucoma.

Patients with glaucoma should get their eye pressure measured at an ophthalmologists office regularly.  But what happens to their eye pressure in between visits or at night remains somewhat of a mystery, one that could help unravel more about this vision-stealing disease. To help record eye pressure over time, scientists created a smart contact lens that can indirectly measure intraocular pressure continuously.

How it works

A sensor in the lens detects when the curvature changes. As eye pressure fluctuates throughout the day and night, the curve of the lens changes, generating an electrical signal sent to a wireless device that records the signals. Similar to how an electrocardiogram shows a heartbeat, the profile of signals from the smart lens indirectly shows eye pressure changes over time.

Researchers at Columbia tested the Sensimed Triggerfish® lenses on 40 patients between ages 40 and 89 undergoing treatment for open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. Over two years, scientists performed at least eight standard visual field tests on these patients. Half were classified as having slow disease progression while the other 20 had fast disease progression.

Then patients wore the smart contact lens for 24 hours, including overnight as they slept. Investigators found that patients with steeper spikes recorded overnight and a greater number of peaks in their signal profile overall tended to have faster glaucoma progression.

Using this tool, ophthalmologists may one day be able to more accurately gauge whether a patient’s glaucoma will progress quickly by looking at a readout from the smart lens.

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