‘Smart’ contact lenses respond to eye disease by changing color

According tomedia reports, for ophthalmologists, there is sometimes a need for on-site diagnosis of problems, which can sometimes be challenging. The new “smart” contact lenses are designed to help by changing color to respond to two common diseases. The contact lenses were developed by a team from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and are made from biocompatible hydrogels.

'Smart' contact lenses respond to eye disease by changing color

The gel is also made up of a polymer called 2-methyl acrylates (pHEMA). No additional chemical pigments are required.

Typically, pHEMA is shown in red. But when placed on an unusually dry eye for about 25 minutes, the polymer’s nanostructure changes in the reaction to reduce moisture content, so it turns blue.

'Smart' contact lenses respond to eye disease by changing color

The smart contact lenses can also detect diseases such as glaucoma, where intra-eye pressure can be very high, according to the report. In this case, the pressure on the hydrogel again changes its reflective nanostructure, which is now green.

Lead scientist Professor Du Xuemin said the study provided a new smart wearable device that provides a timely and easy warning of the risk of dry eye and high eye pressure disease, and would also inspire a new generation of wearabledevices. The device has color-sensing capabilities that monitor a wide range of human signs and disease POC (Instant Care) in real time.

The study was published in Journal of Materials Chemistry B.