An implant that measures intraocular pressure
Wednesday, September 17 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
A tiny implant could help patients continuously measure their intraocular pressure from the comfort of their own homes.
Developed by a professor of bioengineering at Stanford University and an ophthalmologist from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, the device is in fact a small tube. One end is open to the fluids that fill the eye; the other end is capped with a small bulb filled with gas. As the intraocular pressure increases, intraocular fluid is pushed into the tube, and the gas pushes back against the fluid. This causes the barrier between the fluid and the gas to move, allowing the patient to measure the pressure.
A smartphone app or smart glasses could be used to snap a photo of the instrument, providing a critical wealth of data. Previous research has shown that measuring intraocular pressure over 24 hours, rather than once a day or week, results in a change in treatment in up to 80 per cent of patients.
The scientists now just need to re-engineer the device with materials that will increase the life of the device inside the human eye, and to find a better way of implanting it. “I believe that only a few years are needed before clinical trials can be conducted,” says Israeli ophthalmologist Yossi Mandel.