BEIJING, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have developed a smart contact lens that can automatically dispense medication to treat glaucoma, an eye disorder that can cause blindness.
Scientists from Sun Yat-sen University designed the wireless, battery-free contact lens that monitors pressure within the eyeball before making an on-demand, controlled-release of an anti-glaucoma drug.
The gadget utilizes a highly-compact, double-layer structural design that integrates the electrical circuits into its curved and limited surface without blocking the user's vision, according to the study published in the journal Nature Communications this week.
Its sensing module possesses a unique cantilever configuration in the circuit, and each circuit plates sandwich ultra-soft air dielectric films. The highly sensitive films respond to changes in eyeball pressure and produce detectable resonant frequency signals for wireless recording.
Then, the drug delivery module uses an efficient wireless power transfer circuit to timely drive the coated drug brimonidine into the aqueous chamber across corneal barriers, according to the study.
Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness for the elderly, is often caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye.
The scientists conducted in vivo experiments on rabbits with glaucoma. The group wearing the contact lens maintained stable eye pressure in the experiment thanks to the timely drug delivery of the device.
But in the control group, rabbits who were administered with eye drops, showed an initial pressure reduction followed by a rapid rise in eye pressure.
The minimally invasive, smart, wireless device shows a lot of promise for treating glaucoma in the future, the researchers said. ■