|4 April 2017|

USA

Tear drops could provide information leading to the early detection of diseases, scientists in America have said.

Research presented at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) points to the future development of bio-sensing lenses capable of gauging blood glucose levels other common signs of potential health problems.

First used to enhance smartphones with sharper displays, the technology developed by Dr Gregory Herman and his colleagues is the latest in a plethora of exciting developments in medtech, an industry expected to exceed $529.8 billion by 2022, according to one estimate.

After moving to Oregon State University in 2009 Dr Herman shifted his interest from smartphones to how the semiconductor tech could be applied in biotechnology to help people with diabetes better manage their health.

“These biosensors probably won’t put blood labs out of business. But I think that we can do a lot of diagnostics using information that can be extracted from tear drops in the eye,” Dr Herman said.

His IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) electronics could hold 2,500 biosensors – in a 1-millimeter square patch – all monitoring different bodily functions. Dr Herman also wants to look at how it can be used to detect cancer and other serious diseases more swiftly.

A prototype bio-sensing contact lens should be available for testing in the next year or so.