Contact lens device could help diagnose AMD

Lady putting contact lens towards eye

A transparent device that can fit into a contact lens could help to diagnose age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

Scientists at Northwestern University have created a tiny ultrasensitive device, which is capable of determining the speed of blood flow at the back of the eye.

Work started to create a diagnostic device in 2006 after the Feinberg School of Medicine asked Professor Hao Zhang to develop a device that could measure biological activities at the back of the eye.

Associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr Cheng Sun, explained to Optometry Today that ultrasound detection devices at the time were bulky, opaque and insensitive. 

“It could only capture part of what was happening in the eye,” he said.

The researchers needed to create a device that was small, soft and more efficient. 

“The challenge was to fabricate it, have it fit in the size of a contact lens and make it still work,” he added.

Work is being done to further improve the device and prepare it for clinical trials.