Researchers From South Korea Have Developed Smart Contact Lenses to Treat Diabetic Retinopathy:
Diabetic complications are endless, as diabetes is a long-term chronic disease.
Diabetes is accompanied by a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy, where the retina is damaged by high blood sugar levels.
Poor management can result in this problem. When not treated correctly, retinopathy can lead to loss of vision and, in the worst cases, lead to blindness.
Professor Sei Kwang Hahn and Ph.D. candidate Geon-Hui Lee from Pohang University of Science and Technology have partnered with Dr. Sangbaie Shin from PHI BIOMED Co. to develop a smart wearable LED contact lens that could help prevent and treat the disease at a very early stage.
A far-red/LED light of 120 W is irradiated to the retina via the LED contact lenses, preventing retinopathy.
The research team examined the innovative device on diabetic animals for an entire 8-week period.
Animals wearing the lenses for about 15 minutes three times a week for an 8-week period didn't develop the disease. Conversely, animals that were not wearing the lenses exhibited signs of retinopathy.
There is no difficulty diagnosing it. Diabetic retinopathy can easily be detected by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) through a simple test, which would monitor abnormal blood vessel growth, bleeding in the center of the eye, and swelling of the retina.
Cleveland Clinic reports that people with a severe cases of the condition may experience symptoms including trouble reading or recognizing distant objects, blurred or distorted vision, color blindness, poor night vision, and small dark spots.
Diabetic retinopathy is typically treated with two extremely painful procedures: The first is highly invasive, where repeated therapeutic injections are administered to the eyeball; in the other, after anesthesia is administered, the patient undergoes thousands of small burns made with a laser to destroy the capillaries near the retina.