Your eye could someday house its own high-tech information center, tracking important changes and letting you know when it's time to see an eye doctor.
University of Washington engineers have designed a low-power sensor that could be placed permanently in a person's eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves.
The researchers recently published their results in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering and filed patents on an initial prototype of the pressure-monitoring device.
"No one has ever put electronics inside the lens of the eye, so this is a little more radical," said Karl Bhringer, a UW professor of electrical engineering. "We have shown this is possible in principle. If you can fit this sensor device into an intraocular lens implant during cataract surgery, it won't require any further surgery for patients."
The research team wanted to find an easy way to measure eye pressure for management of glaucoma, a group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can cause blindness. Right now there are two ways to check eye pressure, but both require a visit to the ophthalmologist. At most, patients at risk for glaucoma may only get their pressure checked several times a year, said Tueng Shen, a collaborator and UW professor of ophthalmology.
But if ophthalmologists could insert a pressure monitoring system in the eye with an artificial lens during cataract surgery now a common procedure performed on 3 million to 4 million people each year to remove blurry vision or glare caused by a hazy lens that could save patients from a second surgery and essentially make their replacement lens "smarter" and more functional.
"The implementation of the monitoring device has to be well-suited cl
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University of Washington