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Millions of diabetes sufferers face the daily grind of frequent skin prick tests to monitor their blood sugar levels. Now researchers have developed an innovative alternative that could reveal the same information in the blink of an eye. A team from The University of Akron have developed a contact lens that senses glucose which is the blood sugar in tears, the natural fluid that bathes the eye.
If sugar is not being metabolised properly and glucose concentration builds up in the body, the contact lens will detect a problem and change colour. 'It works just like pH paper in your high school chemistry lab,' said Dr Jun Hu. 'The sugar molecule literally acts like the proton in a pH test, displacing a colour dye embedded in the lens, and the lens changes colour.'
The convenience of contact lenses could boost patient compliance to blood sugar testing, as it will reduce discomfort, inconvenience, and even cost. 'In addition, blood sugar also changes rapidly throughout a normal, active day, so a device that can monitor glucose many times in a day will provide diabetic patients with a very powerful tool in combating such a damaging condition.'