According to the International Diabetes Foundation, about 382 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. The organization predicts that this will rise to 592 million by 2035, a 55% increase. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels closely, so that they can use insulin to manage their body chemistry.
Currently, patients must prick their skin to get small blood samples in order to test their glucose levels. This process can be painful and introduce the of risk infection. It also requires consumables that can be costly. As a result, diabetics may not monitor their levels as frequently as they might.
Lein Applied Diagnostics is one company that is working to develop a non-invasive way to measure blood glucose levels using an optical device. They have found that there is a correlation between sugar levels and readings taken from a patient’s eye. By shining light from an LED into the eyeball, sensors can take readings that can provide a measure of blood sugar levels. The company is working with data analysis experts at Oxford and Aston Universities to help with the complex data sets developed in clinical trials of the procedure.
Ultimately, finger pricks could be replaced by a mobile device the size of a smartphone that could be used as often as desired to monitor sugar levels. The result could be more precise insulin dosage and much closer control of a diabetic’s chemistry.