This illustration shows the schematic procedure for the fabrication of a surface-enhanced Raman scattering contact lens via transfer printing.

The technology works via tears.

Researchers have developed contact lens technology that could help people with diabetes measure their blood sugar, Medgadget reports.

Nanostructures built into the lenses would allow for the measurement of glucose through tears.

This could be a welcome advance for patients.

“There’s no noninvasive method to do this” at the moment, said Wei-Chuan Shih, a researcher with the University of Houston. He was quoted in an article on the University of Houston’s website. 

“It always requires a blood draw. This is unfortunately the state of the art.”

Medgadget explains, in somewhat technical terms, that the system “relies on enhancing the ability of surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy to measure glucose concentrations and other biomolecules using a special printed nanostructure.”

The system would consist of more than just contact lenses. A light source and a sensor would also be needed, according to the Medgadget.

The contact lens concept isn’t entirely new – Google has submitted a patent for a multi-sensor contact lens, which the company says can also detect glucose levels in tears, the University of Houston notes. 

Scientists know that glucose is present in tears, but Shih said how tear glucose levels correlate with blood glucose levels hasn’t been established.

He said the more important finding is that the device is an effective mechanism for using surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy. The technology could have various other applications.

The researchers are from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea Institute of Science and Technology and University of Houston. They published their findings in the journal Advanced Materials.

Read more at Medgadget

Read more from the University of Houston

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