Contact Lens
Using contact lenses for sensing glucose levels.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition, which affects almost every organ of the body. Good diabetic control depends on proper management. Management of the disease requires regular blood glucose monitoring.

For blood glucose monitoring, these diabetic patients need to undergo prick each time for a glucometer to record the reading. It is a painful process. Many times, glucose measurements are required three times a day.

There should be some strategy which is painless or causes minimum pain. Many devices are underway. Some of them are made available to the market such as needless diabetic sensors in the skin.

Likewise, a team of researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has developed a biosensing contact lens capable of detecting glucose levels in patients with diabetes. They published their findings in Science Advances.

Controlling sugar levels for diabetic patients is of great significance. High blood glucose level can be very dangerous for diabetic patients. An enzyme-based finger pricking method is the most frequently used technique in a diabetic evaluation. This is the method through which compliance can be reduced in the diabetic patient.

There are many struggles made to monitor the glucose level in tears with a smart contact lens.

Also read: A new era in Diabetic care

How Does it work?

This contact lens use electrodes that comprise highly malleable and clear material. This transparent and flexible lens also suppress glucose sensor that sends electrical signals to LED.


With the help of this sensor, patients can convey their health information in real-time using the embedded wireless antenna in the lens.


Electric power that operates the LED pixel and the glucose sensor is transmitted to the lens through the antenna. When the glucose accumulation in the tear fluid goes above the given threshold, the LED pixel will turn off.


The research team did an experiment on a live rabbit. The rabbit did not show any sign of abnormal behavior during the eye blinks and the LED pixel turned off.

Electronic component

When the glucose concentration in tear fluid is noted and it goes above the threshold then the smart contact lens could still maintain the eye temperature accurately.

Glucose Contact Lens

Some issues with these contact lenses

Some experts from Google and Novartis believe that tears have not proven to be reliable in measuring glucose. Former CSO of J&J’s Scan John Smith said that measuring glucose from the blood, saliva and tears have failed for decades.

These readings get impacted by temperature, surrounding environment and humidity.


Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic health condition marked by increasing blood glucose levels. It requires regular monitoring for good control. According to these measurements, one can know the need for further therapy if needed or for checking whether the current therapy is working optimally or not. Patients have been using multiple needle pricks for this purpose. This has been painful to the patients. Thus, for diabetics among many things that are underway, needless diabetic care and contact lenses for sensing the blood glucose levels are also included.

There are concerns however to the use of these contact lenses. They may not predict the accurate level of glucose as suggested by some researchers. More investigations need to be done. If it’s proved for use in the future it can make a huge difference.


Avatar for Dr. Hafsa Akbar Ali

Dr. Hafsa Akbar Ali

I have a MBBS from King Edward Medical University and did my clinical training at Pakistan’s Mayo Hospital, one of the most prestigious medical institutions in South Asia. My passion for medicine led me to pursue postgraduate training in the US as well, where I received an MD. My writing at TechEngage covers the latest advancements in medical technology.

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