Diabetes: New glasses can measure blood sugar levels

Diabetes: New glasses can measure blood sugar levels

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Novel simpler monitoring of blood sugar levels

Now a glasses-based biosensor has been developed that can detect blood sugar levels through a person's tears.

In the current study by the University of California, San Diego, a new type of biosensor was developed, which was installed in glasses and can easily determine the blood sugar level through tears. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Biosensors and Bioelectronics".

More and more people worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with diabetes has risen alarmingly in the past few decades. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely. The new test provides a less invasive method for diabetics to measure their blood sugar levels.

Using glycosimeters with disadvantages

Many people with diabetes use a portable glycosimeter to measure blood sugar levels by pricking their fingertips to get a blood sample. The process can be painful for the person concerned and carries a risk of infection.

The sensor can determine various measured values ​​in the blood

The new biosensor can identify an enzyme called glucose oxidase in tears, eliminating the prick in the finger. The sensor can be used to measure blood sugar, vitamin and alcohol levels, the researchers report.

How do biosensors work?

Biosensors are able to measure biological or chemical reactions and generate a signal that is proportional to the concentration of a certain substance. Biosensors are used, for example, to monitor health status and diagnose diseases.

Tear fluid is required for a measurement

The new sensor was installed on the nose pad of glasses. To measure, users must produce tears by exposing their eyes to a substance that stimulates the lacrimal gland.

How are the tears evaluated?

When tears come into contact with the glucose oxidase, the flow of electrons changes and a signal is generated which is recorded and processed by the device installed in the arm of the glasses. The results are then sent to a computer or smartphone in real time.

Metabolites in tears can indicate blood pressure

The concentrations of various metabolites in tears reflect blood sugar and make the tear fluid an attractive medium for the non-invasive monitoring of physiological parameters. In addition to freedom from pain, the biosensor could reduce the risk of infection, which can occur when people frequently use glycosimeters.

Diagnosing different diseases by changing the electrode?

The device can also measure the level of vitamins and alcohol in the blood by changing the coupled electrode attached to the nose pads of the glasses. Using the same approach, a biosensor was developed that is able to recognize and quantify biomarker proteins for the clinical diagnosis of various diseases, such as certain types of cancer.

Improved diagnosis through simpler tests and AI

Such an examination can be performed with just a drop of blood on the device. This simple approach could improve the diagnosis of diseases, supported by artificial intelligence (AI). While the benefits of biosensors to improve quality of life and human health have been known for a long time, there is still a long way to go before these devices are mass-produced and marketed in all countries.

Research in this area should be encouraged more

Since the devices have great potential for diagnosing and preventing diseases or even genetic disorders, which can be diagnosed shortly after or even before birth, an increase in public and private investment in innovative research projects in this area could develop and related Accelerate processes. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Juliane R. Sempionatto, Laís Canniatti Brazaca, Laura García-Carmona, Gulcin Bolat, Alan S. Campbell et al .: Eyeglasses-based tear biosensing system: Non-invasive detection of alcohol, vitamins and glucose, in Biosensors and Bioelectronics (query: 01.12.2019), Biosensors and Bioelectronics

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