4 Ways Google's Contact Lens Could Change Diabetes Care

In January, Google released a prototype for a contact lens that monitors glucose levels. The contact looks and feels like an average contact, but it contains microelectronics that sense glucose levels through tears. However, tear glucose has been examined examined before, but is not well understood. Right now, diabetics are forced to prick their fingers several times a day to check their blood sugar. Part of the reason for Google's press release was to ask for potential partners in their search for needle-free diabetes care.

This prototype device sets the miniature electronics in between two layers of a contact lens, with a tiny pinhole for tears to enter the device so that they may be read for glucose levels. The device is powered by radio waves that are always present in the air around us and harnesses the energy to perform one glucose calculation per second. It is important to mention that this is only prototype and Google specifically mentioned that there is much work to be done before this could become available to consumers.

Even considering that Google's device is only a prototype, it has tremendous potential for diabetes management by providing effortless diabetes readings every second via a patient's tears. Here are some potential solutions it could offer:

1. Make blood glucose management a science, not an art.

Blood glucose management is largely a guess and check game at the moment, where a patient eats a certain amount, expecting their blood sugar to go up by a certain factor, and administers a quantity of insulin to balance it out. If something is wrong with a patient's blood glucose levels, they may not notice it until it is far beyond a normal range, causing discomfort. If patients had a continuous monitor of their glucose levels, they would be much more likely to solve the problem before it became problematic.

2. Continuous data lets you know how your body reacts.

We've all heard a million times that everyone is unique. In the same sense, every diabetic's body reacts differently to sugar and food. Constantly monitoring your sugar levels can help you understand how your body processes sugar and insulin. Maybe you need less food and less insulin than most diabetics. Information like this could help you manage on a individual basis.

3. Never get too low or high again.

Continuous management doesn't let you "forget" to take blood sugar readings. It immediately alerts you if you drop out of the "safe" blood sugar range. Either drink some fruit juice or inject a little insulin — problem solved!

4. New methods of management personalized for you.

It is likely that you will have the ability to share glucose data with your endocrinologist, if you so choose. This means that doctors will have access to more information than they ever have in the past. Who knows what could be discovered amidst so much data? They could find anything!

Technologies like Google's contact lens could open up so many doors for diabetes treatment. It is worth remembering that, though many of these technologies are in the early stages of development, they hold great promise for the future!

Tags: healthcare, medical technology, Electronic Engineering

Brennan Cornell

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