First steps toward noninvasive intraocular pressure monitoring with a sensing contact lens
PURPOSE. To present a novel and minimally invasive approach to intraocular pressure (IOP) monitoring based on a sensing contact lens. METHODS. The key element of this measurement method is a soft contact lens with an embedded microfabricated strain gauge allowing the measurement of changes in corneal curvature correlated to variations in IOP. A prototype of this sensing contact lens was adapted and tested on enucleated porcine eyes. To verify the measurement principle of the device, the posterior chamber of the pig eyes was cannulated and connected to a syringe pump and a pressure sensor for precise control of IOP. The measurements of the contact lens were then compared to the ones from the pressure sensor, while pressure variations were induced through the cannula. RESULTS. Enucleated porcine eyes were stimulated with increasing and decreasing ramps of IOP. Measurements from the sensing contact lens and from the pressure sensor showed very good correlation, proving the high potential of this new measurement principle. In this study, a typical signal from the sensing contact lens obtained during the experiments is presented and discussed. CONCLUSIONS. The sensing contact lens shows the potential for continuously monitoring IOP in enucleated porcine eyes. The ultimate step will be the validation of the system and the reproducibility of results in humans. The device is placed in the same way as a corrective contact lens, no anesthesia is required, and vision remains almost unimpaired. This device would allow minimally invasive IOP monitoring over prolonged periods, regardless of the patient's position and activity, thus opening up new diagnostic and therapeutic methods for the management of glaucoma.