Color-Changing Contact Lenses Help Diabetics Keep Tabs on Glucose Levels


Want to talk about a sight for sore eyes? Diabetics could soon be weeping tears of joy over a new noninvasive technology that would make the ritual of drawing blood throughout the day ancient history. A biochemical engineer at the University of Western Ontario has developed contact lenses that change color in response to spikes and dips in the wearer’s glucose levels. The secret: Ultra-teeny nanoparticles that react chemically with glucose molecules in tears to produce a shift in hue.

The nanocomposite hydrogel lenses, which could render those pesky e-waste-generating blood-glucose meters obsolete, will allow diabetics to monitor potentially life-threatening variations in their sugar levels without missing a thing. (Another upside: They’re ouch-free.)

The lenses could render e-waste-generating blood-glucose meters obsolete.

Professor Jin Zhang received $216,342 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation on Wednesday to further develop the multifunctional nanocomposite technology, which has applications in everything from measuring pathogenic contamination in produce to improving the biodegradability of food packaging.


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