Diabetes is a disease without borders — one in 19 people across the globe deal with this illness that requires constant blood measurements and insulin treatment. Google might soon make day-to-day care a little easier for diabetics with contact lenses that can read a person’s blood sugar through their tears – bringing new meaning to the popular wearable tech trend.
Understanding diabetes is key to comprehending why this technological advancement is so important. Someone who is diabetic cannot produce their own insulin, meaning sugar remains in their blood. The disease has two types: Type 1, which is a chronic, life-long condition, and Type 2, which can occur at any age due to specific factors but can be cured with medication and changes in lifestyle. Diabetes requires a number of expensive medical supplies, including a blood sugar monitor, test strips, vials of insulin with needles, a device to pierce the skin to extract blood, or an insulin pump attached directly to the body. Failure to deal with spikes in blood sugar can lead to possibly fatal organ damage, but the process requires time and can be painful.
Google’s new lenses have a built-in chip that can detect sugar levels, and they relay this information back to the user. The lens takes one measurement per second, meaning that wearers can know when their blood sugar is on the rise and take their insulin in the blink of an eye. Researchers are also looking into placing LED lights in the contacts so that people can detect dangerous blood spikes even faster.
Google reports that they have finished several clinical research studies and is currently in talks with the FDA. While this product won’t be available for consumers for a few more years, this technological advancement could cut down the cost and hassle of measuring blood sugar, leading to healthier and happier people world wide.