The usual method of testing blood sugar is through a device that needs a drop of your blood for measuring it, but even your tears can give that information. Scientists are now working on developing contact lenses that come fitted with a glucose sensor. This would be a great help for diabetics who need to monitor their condition by pinching their forearm (in most cases), several times a day to extract blood for testing blood sugar level.
This initiative was undertaken by Microsoft Research and University of Washington. According to Desney Tan, Microsoft researcher, the interaction of certain enzymes with the tear fluid can be observed with the use of compatible electrodes on the contact lens, that measure the change in current. The University of Washington researcher Babak Parviz, a part of the team had managed to put an LED into a contact lens that emits a light when signal is received.
The researchers from both the establishments have been striving to develop the contact lens to measure blood pressure and have had some success. According to Parviz, the structure or composition of blood is subject to change and it can be visible on the surface of the eyes. It means that your body chemistry is reflected on the surface of your eye. So, if one were able to analyse a sample of that surface, and perhaps send the information through the compatible device fitted into the lens, one can know the condition of the body.
This project is an offshoot of Microsoft’s larger objective of making such user interfaces that are seamless with computers. It is envisioned to bring into reality the kind of science fiction that we saw in Terminator, i.e. calling up information that could appear on eye display. The contact lens for measuring blood sugar would not be as fantastic, but probably much more useful for humans in the real world!