These days, smartphones can be used for just about anything. They have been put to use in many aspects of health, including fitness and exercise apps. Recently, researchers delved into the possibility of monitoring glaucoma through a device implanted in the eye. In turn, a smartphone would monitor the device’s readings.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease typically related to age. Oftentimes, raised intraocular pressure (IOP) causes damage to the optic nerve. This can lead to a loss of peripheral vision and blindness if the glaucoma is not treated properly.
Once the eye doctor measures a patient’s IOP and assesses other aspects of the patient’s health, he or she is able to determine which course of treatment is ideal for the patient. Eye drops and surgery are both common methods of treating glaucoma.
How is IOP Measured?
A method called Tonometry is used to measure IOP. This measures the force needed to flatten part of the cornea, which is the transparent part of the eye located in the front. Even for experts, IOP measurements can be difficult to obtain accurately.
How Can IOP be Measured Better via an Implanted Device?
A monitoring sensor placed within the eye may also be an option to accurately measure IOP, an article in Nature Medicine states. The sensor is extremely small and can be implanted in a patient’s eye, which would allow for continued monitoring. The sensor has a synthetic lens, similar to those used in cataract surgery. Together, the device works as a barometer, measuring pressure and the movement of fluid inside the sensor. By using an optical adapter camera, the patient’s smartphone can track their eye condition.
What are the Limitations of the Device?
Currently, it is unclear how long the device will last. Furthermore, the sensor has only been tested in animal eyes, so researchers do not know the long term effects of this device within the human eye. Lastly, the device may only be useful for certain types of glaucoma.
Although this device is new, researchers believe it may be very promising.
At Matossian Eye Associates, we have two fellowship trained Glaucoma specialists, Ilya Rozenbaum, MD and Priya Desai, MD. If you or your family members have glaucoma, it is important that you be checked. Please call our office – 800-708-8800 – or click here to book your appointment today.