The Smart Contact Lens – Good News for those with Glaucoma

The Smart Contact Lens – Good News for those with Glaucoma

There are many diseases and traumatic injuries that can lead to vision loss and blindness, Glaucoma is one of Australia’s biggest culprits.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can affect anyone at any age and if there is a family history there is an increased risk of developing the disease.  One of the major indicators of Glaucoma is high pressure in the eye. That’s why your Eyecare Professional will usually conduct a pressure check as part of your routine two yearly eye test . You know the one, that little puff of air into the eye that nearly knocks you off your seat !

If you have Glaucoma, this needs to be managed by an Eyecare Professional. The progression of the disease can either be slow or fast and the trick for your Eyecare Professional is understanding the rate of progression and treating it appropriately.  Regular monitoring of the eye pressure gives some indication but as you can imagine this isn’t a very foolproof approach as the eye pressure falls and rises during the day and especially at night.

This is where the latest research comes to the fore. Researchers from Columbia in the USA have developed  wearable technology in the form of a “smart contact lens”.  This smart contact lens has a built in sensor which records changes in the curvature of the eyes’ natural lens which is affected by fluctuating eye pressure. 

The sensor in the smart contact lens records signals throughout the day and night, when the lens is being worn and transmits them to a device.  Certain patterns of the recorded signals can give the Eyecare Professional a better understanding of the speed of the disease and the treatment plan required to slow the Glaucoma down.  The readings from the smart contact lens can also allow the Eyecare Professional to analyse the effectiveness of different treatments.

 The official name of this smart contact lens is “The Sensimed Triggerfish Contact Lens System”  and the good news is it has been approved for use in Australia.

If you are a contact lens wearer and have been diagnosed with Glaucoma, in most cases you can still continue to wear your contact lenses for vision correction, with no difficultly, however do seek your Eyecare Professionals advice.   

Glaucoma is often treated with the use of specialised medicated eye drops that reduce the eyes’ pressure. These drops usually need to be inserted once or twice a day.  It is advisable not to wear your contact lenses when you insert your Glaucoma drop medication as the drops can discolour your contact lenses. Also,  your contact lenses, if in your eye can reduce the effectiveness of the medication and leave your Glaucoma poorly treated.

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