Facebook PixelCan contact lenses do more than just correct sight? Perhaps extend our healthspan?
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Can contact lenses do more than just correct sight? Perhaps extend our healthspan?

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-magnifying-glass-on-blue-table-5843417/

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Juran Dec 20, 2020

[1]https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adhm.201900368

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Creative contributions

Non-invasive measurement of glucose levels

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Juran Dec 23, 2020

[1]Lin YR, Hung CC, Chiu HY, et al. Noninvasive Glucose Monitoring with a Contact Lens and Smartphone. Sensors (Basel). 2018;18(10):3208. Published 2018 Sep 22. doi:10.3390/s18103208

[2]Lane JD, Krumholz DM, Sack RA, Morris C. Tear glucose dynamics in diabetes mellitus. Curr Eye Res. 2006 Nov;31(11):895-901. doi: 10.1080/02713680600976552. PMID: 17114114.

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Juran2 months ago
What I thought of while writing the contribution was that it would be handy if the lens somehow affected the vision while sugar levels are altered. That way, there would be no need for continuous monitoring, but instead, a person would be warned in time.
It could be dangerous if the vision would get a bit blurry. The other option is a slight color change (for all of you who played COD, the reddish screen when you´re hurt 😄), which would be a sign of a change in sugar levels.

There is already a material that could help in implementing this idea (https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/FutureTech/story?id=97664&page=1).
They propose photonic crystals that change color according to the glucose levels. By the scientists´ words, "High concentrations of glucose produce a purple color while low glucose would refract the light to produce a reddish color. Normal glucose levels would produce a green color."
Lenses could be made of those photonic crystals, boronic acids, and other chemicals, that react to different glucose concentrations by refracting/bending the light. Their idea would be to look in the mirror and see what color are your lenses and compare them to the color brochure.
But it would be best if the vision would become a bit reddish or purplish, right?
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Juran In some cases, where a person would do a rather risky, high visual concentration requiring job (e.g. driving) that color change might be not so good. It might happen at a dangerous moment when small disturbances would mean a lot. A person could simply get slightly scared or confused, because of a sudden vision change or if it happened at a low-light situation like at dusk or in a tunnel this would only add up to poorer visibility and this might contribute to making an accident.
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Juran2 months ago
Povilas S I agree. I also think that slight color change of the picture we see would be hard to notice in low-light conditions. That is why maybe the second idea, with eye-color change could be more interesting. When you look at the mirror, you see that your eyes are slightly different color than usual.

Glaucoma progression-monitoring contact lens

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Juran Dec 23, 2020

[1]Dunbar GE, Shen BY, Aref AA. The Sensimed Triggerfish contact lens sensor: efficacy, safety, and patient perspectives. Clin Ophthalmol. 2017;11:875-882. Published 2017 May 8. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S109708

Delivering healthspan or lifespan drugs to the eyes

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Jamila
Jamila Dec 30, 2020

[1]Kim, Joohee, Eunkyung Cha, and Jang‐Ung Park. "Recent advances in smart contact lenses." Advanced Materials Technologies 5.1 (2020): 1900728.

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Juran2 months ago
Hi Jamila! I think that your idea is really good!

Drug-delivering contact lenses can indeed help avoid many usual problems that occur during the ocular drug administration. What concerns me is still the bioavailability of the drug in the parts of the organism distant from the eye, due to many physiological and physical barriers.

I couldn't find papers exploring the ocular administration of drugs for non-ocular disorders, but I found a paper where an aqueous clear nanomicellar rapamycin topical drops were developed and characterized. The paper shows that rapamycin follows the conjunctival-scleral pathway to reach the back of the eye (retina-choroid) with no rapamycin detected in vitreous humor [1]. What further needs to be explored is the efficiency of the administration through the contact lens:

- what percentage of a drug (e.g. rapamycin) is being transferred to the blood and the final organ/tissue?
- how high needs to be the rapamycin concentration in the lens to reach effective blood concentration?
- does it negatively affect eye function?

References:
[1] Kishore Cholkar, Sriram Gunda, Ravinder Earla, Ashim Mitra, Posterior ocular drug delivery; An aqueous clear rapamycin topical drop for retinal delivery. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):1072.
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Manel LladĂł Santaeularia
Manel LladĂł Santaeularia2 months ago
Juran This is really interesting. However I would expect very little amount of the drug reaching the rest of the organism through the blood. This is because the eye is a very isolated structure, with little connection to the bloodstream. The retinal pigmented epithelium is the only connection between the two but allows very little contact, which is one of the main reasons the eye is an immunoprivileged region. This means that the immune system has very low activity in the eye because it literally cannot reach it (which has several advantages and disadvantages). This would probably greatly limit the amount of drug that could reach the bloodstream, especially considering that contact lenses would probably be able to deliver relatively low doses of a particular drug which may not have any significant effect on the body.
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Juran2 months ago
Manel LladĂł Santaeularia I agree with you. The idea could maybe work in cases of drugs that are meant to be available in the bloodstream in extremely low concentrations and, at the same time, do not have negative effects on the eye (due to the necessarily high concentrations in the contact lens). But for not, hardly manageable.

Contact lenses and the risk of eye infections and diseases

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Jamila
Jamila Dec 30, 2020

[1]Cheng, Kam H., et al. "Incidence of contact-lens-associated microbial keratitis and its related morbidity." The Lancet 354.9174 (1999): 181-185.

[2]Szczotka-Flynn, Loretta B., Eric Pearlman, and Mahmoud Ghannoum. "Microbial contamination of contact lenses, lens care solutions, and their accessories: a literature review." Eye & contact lens 36.2 (2010): 116.

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Juran2 months ago
Hi Jamila! Thank you for your contribution.
I agree that people who wear lenses have an increased risk of getting eye infections. I know that from personal experience of wearing contacts for almost 20 years and having multiple eye infections. New materials or coatings would definitely help people to have fewer eye problems.
But, in my opinion, the best prevention is good eye care and general hygiene. According to your lifestyle, you can choose to wear soft contact lenses that "last" from 1 day to 3 months (rigid lenses up to a few years!), with those of 1 day being the best in terms of infections and diseases. I rarely got an infection if I used the contacts the way how the manufacturer prescribed.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Juran Isn't it also something about the total time that you use them (like in terms of years), the longer you use them the riskier it gets for some reason? I don't know if this has something to do with eye infections, but my friend used predominantly lenses for many years and at one point her doctor told her that she has to stop, because she came to a point when it's no longer safe to keep using them. Maybe it has something to do with individual physiology, some people might damage the eye tissue this way, because of continuous contact and friction, I think that's what I heard also. Not sure how much of this it's true. But some people are more sensitive to them than others. When I tried them it was pretty uncomfortable for me.
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Jamila
Jamila 2 months ago
The good news is that researchers are already developing contact lenses with antimicrobial properties! In Khan and Lee's review article, they suggest various ways to give contact lenses antimicrobial properties, including antibiotics, antifungal medicines, metal coatings, quorum sensing quenchers, and much more. [1]

Reference
1. Khan, Shakeel Ahmad, and Chun-Sing Lee. "Recent progress and strategies to develop antimicrobial contact lenses and lens cases for different types of microbial keratitis." Acta Biomaterialia (2020).

Telescopic/zooming contact lens to treat visual impairments

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Juran Dec 23, 2020

[1]Eric. J. Tremblay, Igor Stamenov, R. Dirk Beer, Ashkan Arianpour, and Joseph E. Ford, "Switchable telescopic contact lens," Opt. Express 21, 15980-15986 (2013)

[2]https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adfm.201903762

Smart contact lenses with a camera to help blind people

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Juran Dec 23, 2020

[1]https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/180571-google-invents-smart-contact-lens-with-built-in-camera-superhuman-terminator-like-vision-here-we-come

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses as detectors of organic solvents

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Juran Feb 19, 2021

[1]https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2005/10/Contact-Lenses-in-a-Chemical-Environment.aspx?Page=1

[2]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1559287/

[3]https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-contact-lenses-protect/

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