If you’ve seen the Terminator movies, you know all about how they see. The second its eyes are set on a person; they know everything there is to know—the stat line runs like a news ticker.
A new study is suggesting that “smart” contact lenses could do the same… for your doctor.
Preliminary research is showing that soft contact lenses equipped with small electronic circuitry, batteries, and antennas are able to monitor and feed information to eye doctors about the patient’s eye health. A potentially useful tool considering “visit the eye doctor” isn’t particularly high on most people’s to-do list.
A group of Korean scientists that published their work in the journal Scientific Advances shows the lenses collect eye fluid to look for evidence of glaucoma, retinopathy, diabetes, and other eye diseases. They tested the lenses with success on rabbits and one human, although a small human study using similar technology occurred in 2016.
If that scares you, you’re probably not alone. An electronic device on your eye’s surface can be awfully worrying. But the threat of glaucoma, a condition that can progress quickly and is irreversible, might make it worthwhile.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60 and is caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye. The pressure is a result of a build-up of fluid that leads to vision problems and is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
There are ways to promote better eye health that might relieve pressure and reduce the risk of glaucoma. If you don’t want to wait (“smart” lenses must still undergo lengthy human trials) for technology, some of the things you can try include:
- Eating a healthy and nutrient-dense diet rich in zinc, copper, selenium, and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.
- Exercise safely. Getting regular cardiovascular exercise may help limit eye pressure.
- Limit caffeine intake
- Sip fluids frequently, but don’t consume a quart or more within a short period.
- Sleep with a wedged pillow to keep the head slightly elevated.