Diagnosing and monitoring the development of glaucoma involves taking regular measurements of patients’ intraocular pressure (IOP). This is typically done in a clinical setting with readings taken weeks or months apart, a problem since the IOP can rise and fall unexpectedly throughout the day and may be subject to the white coat effect. A new eye implant developed in a collaboration between researchers at Stanford and Bar-Ilan University in Israel, may allow people to measure their IOP as often as needed.
There already exist investigational implants for measuring IOP, including at least one that sends its readings wirelessly to an external device, but the newly developed implant was designed to be readable without the complexities of wireless communication.
The device is essentially a small tube with a tiny gas canister at one end. The open end of the tube is exposed to the fluid within the eye, delivering pressure into the tube. The gas reservoir naturally pushes back, and the balance between the two indicates the intraocular pressure. Since the tube is transparent, the meniscus that forms at the barrier between the gas and liquid can be photographed, and a measurement taken on the resulting picture. The researchers have been testing the device in a laboratory setting and have been able to achieve pressure resolution down to 1 mm Hg.
The current device can be implanted along with prosthetic intraocular lenses, but the researchers are looking into being able to implant the device with on its own.
Study in Nature Medicine: An implantable microfluidic device for self-monitoring of intraocular pressure…