Science 3 min read

Glowing Contact Lenses to Prevent Vision Loss Caused by Diabetes

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Researchers at Caltech developed glowing contact lenses to help people suffering from diabetic retinopathy.

A team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has reportedly developed glowing contact lenses that could prevent vision loss in people with diabetes. The new technology reportedly uses the same tech found in luminous wrist watches.

To date, millions of people are suffering from diabetes worldwide, many of which are at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition usually associated with diabetes in its more advanced stages.

Loss of vision in people with diabetes is the result of the damage inflicted by the disease in the tiny blood vessels within the body, including those in our eyes. The damage causes reduced blood flow to the retina’s nerve cells which often leads to their eventual death.

Current treatments for this diabetes-related blindness involve painful and invasive eyeball surgical procedures using lasers and injections. The new treatment developed by the Caltech researchers is reportedly much more benign.

Glowing Contact Lenses
Glowing Contact Lenses | Caltech

According to Colin Cook, a Caltech graduate student who led the development of the glowing contact lenses, this treatment offers a better non-invasive alternative to current diabetes-induced blindness treatment methods.

The lenses work by giving the affected eyes rod cells. These, in turn, provide vision in low-light conditions with a faint amount of light as the person sleeps.

Read More: Contact Lenses That can Shade the sun Receive FDA Approval

“Your rod cells, as it turns out, consume about twice as much oxygen in the dark as they do in the light,” Cook said. “If we turn metabolism in the retina down, we should be able to prevent some of the damage that occurs.”

For the lenses to provide light to the retina during the night, the researchers utilized the luminous technology in wrist watches. The light comes from tiny vials that are filled with tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen gas that produces electrons as it decays. The electrons are then turned into light by a phosphorescent coating. This ensures the constant supply of light during the contact lenses’ lifetime.

The contact lenses have been tested in collaboration with Mark Humayun’s laboratory at the University of Southern California. The results of the initial testing are said to be promising, with the rod cell activity reduced by nearly 90 percent when worn in the dark. The researchers seek FDA permits to begin clinical trials.

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  1. Daphne April 25 at 10:59 pm GMT

    Very good. In July of 2017. it was discovered that I got type 2 diabetes, By the end of the July month. I was given a prescription for the Metformin, I stated with the some diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140, Without results to how for my hard work. I really panicked and called my doctor. His response?? Deal with it yourself, I started to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research, Then I found Lisa’s great blog (google ” How I freed myself from diabetes ” ) .. I read it from cover to cover and I started with the diet and by the next week. my blood sugar was 100, Since then. I get a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s, My doctor was very surprised at the results that. the next week. he took me off the Metformin drug, I lost 16 pounds in my first month and lost more than 3+ inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth is that we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods..

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