Diabetes is a long-term chronic disease with many complications and requires lifelong treatment. The longer a patient has diabetes, the higher the risk of developing retinopathy (retinal (Lenses) disease) which can progressively lead to decreased vision and even blindness.
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A POSTECH research team led by Professor Sei Kwang Hahn and Ph.D. candidate Geon-Hui Lee (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) in collaboration with Dr. Sangbaie Shin of PHI BIOMED Co. recently developed a smart contact lens type wearable device to prevent diabetic retinopathy and treat it at an early stage by shining a 120 W far-red light/LED onto the retina. This technology for smart LED contact lenses has attracted a lot of attention for various eye diseases.
Diabetic retinopathy is currently treated with repeated, highly invasive therapeutic injections into the eyeball or thousands of small burns created with a laser to destroy the capillaries near the edge of the retina under anesthesia. Both procedures are considered very painful for the patient.
Through studies with animal models of diabetes, the researchers confirmed that diabetic retinopathy did not occur in animals who wore smart contact lenses for 15 minutes 3 times a week for a total of 8 weeks. In contrast, animals that do not wear lenses exhibit retinopathy. The safety and effectiveness of the lenses were also confirmed by histological analysis of the cornea and retina.
“This study has demonstrated the feasibility of a lens-type wearable device for applications not only to monitor oxygen saturation, heart rate, and eye disease, but also to treat depression, insomnia, neurological diseases, and more,” said Professor Sei Kwang Han who led the research.
Not many know that diabetes also affects one’s eyes. Research has shown that through the use of smart LED contact lenses, they will be able to treat and potentially even prevent eye disease.
Scientists Treat Retinopathy Caused by Diabetes
According to a story from SciTechDaily, diabetes remains one of the most well-known diseases and can increase the risk of retinopathy. The disease is chronic in the long term and can also require lifelong treatment.
For context, retinopathy is a disease of the retina, which at worst can cause blindness and decreased vision at best.
In light of this disease, Professor Sei Kwang Hanh and Ph.D. Candidate Geon-Hulu Lee led the POSTECH research team in collaboration with Dr. Sangbaie Shin of PHI BIOMED Co. to deal with this problem.
How Smart LED Contact Lenses Treat the Eyes
Scientists and doctors have succeeded in developing a kind of wearable smart contact lens that can prevent diabetic rhinopathy. Apart from prevention, it is also reported to be able to treat the disease “at an early stage by shining a 120 W far-red/LED light onto the retina,” as also detailed in Science Daily.
Smart LED contact lenses have been getting a lot of attention in terms of other eye diseases as a potential treatment. The current way of treating diabetic retinopathy is still considered “highly invasive” and also very tedious.
How the Ordinary Eye Care Process Works
The process involves the eyeball receiving repeated therapeutic injections or small burns created with a laser. These burns or injections are performed near the edge of the retina under anesthesia.
Smart Contact Lenses Tested on Animals Show Positive Results
Other animals not wearing lenses showed signs of retinopathy. Histological analysis of both the cornea and retina also confirmed the safety and effectiveness of smart lenses.
As per the research leader, Professor Sei Kwang Han, the results show that smart lenses are a viable solution for applications when it comes to not only heart rate, eye disease, and oxygen saturation monitoring but also to help treat neurological diseases, depression. . , insomnia, and more.
Scientists remain optimistic that the future use of smart LED lenses could allow them to treat diseases other than retinopathy caused by diabetes. Professor Han further details his plans in an article by MPO-Mag.