At present, contact lenses are just for correcting vision or changing your eye color. But if Google has its way, contacts will also be able to save the lives of diabetic patients all over the world.
Amazing New Technology
On January 16, 2014, Google
announced that it would be working to develop a contact lens with a blood sugar sensor and microchip embedded inside. Since sugar in the body can be measured through tears, sweat and blood, contact lenses are an innovative way to measure sugar levels noninvasively. The reading would then be sent to a device or an app on a smartphone that would allow the user to make adjustments if needed. The lenses are expected to test sugar levels once every second, which would allow diabetic patients to make changes before the sugars get too high or two low.
Easing the Burden of Managing Diabetes
Currently, the majority of patients living with diabetes must test their blood sugars with the use of a glucometer and test strips. To get the blood onto the test strip, a painful poke must be made on the patient's fingers, several times a day. Understandably, the pain of the finger prick deters some patients from testing their sugar as often as they should. When combined with the injection of insulin, patients with diabetes are constantly using painful pokes to manage the disease.
Google's new contact lenses hope to change that; however, the technology is still being developed, and the company is looking for other groups to partner with to make the vision a reality. With diabetes at epidemic proportions, estimated to affect 1 in 19 people worldwide, innovations like this are desperately needed to give patients choices in how to achieve their best state of health.
The Devastating Toll of Diabetes
Uncontrolled blood sugar can take an enormous toll on the body. Complications of diabetes include loss of eyesight, loss of limbs, heart and vascular disease, joint problems, sexual dysfunction and much more. With so many people afflicted with this disease, management of blood sugar is important to prevent the ballooning of these serious complications on a large scale. It is hoped that tools like these contact lenses being championed by Google will strike a blow against this life-threatening disease and its destructive complications.
What Does This Mean for Nurses?1.
Nurses are on the front line of treating and supporting patients with diabetes. They instruct individual patients on how they can better manage their blood sugars, and they can become certified to teach groups of patients on good health practices. On a larger scale, registered nurses
can continue to advocate for innovations like these that will improve health outcomes for a vast community of patients.
Congratulations are in order for Google, who is using vast resources to address a growing health problem, rather than to just develop the newest gadget. Hopefully, it will be successful in making life easier for diabetic patients, and potentially save lives.
Photo Source: morgueFile