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Smart contact lens | Photo source Perchek Industrie on Unsplash

Smart contact lenses slow-release drugs directly into wearers eyes 

Work & Lifestyle

A new contact lens releases medication to both the front and back of the eye and can be worn for two weeks.

 

Theraoptix recently won first prize in the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovation Prize. The competition was part of the 16th annual MIT Sloan Healthcare and BioInnovations Conference and is open to teams with at least one member from MIT or Harvard. One of only eight innovations to be invited to the final of the competition, the Theraoptix team won judges over with the combination of its simplicity and effectiveness. In addition, Theraoptix provides a new method for taking care of an injured eye. A new style of contact lens provides a slow release of medication for a range of illnesses and disease. As so many people struggle with the physical act of getting eye drops into their eyes, the Theraoptix team found a way to eliminate messy and multiple applications of medicine.

Moreover, wearable for up to two weeks, the medicinal contact lenses are made from ‘Food and Drug Administration’ approved materials. Each lens contains a polymer film around the edge that holds the medicine. The strip doesn’t affect a wearer’s vision. Scientists are optimistic about the development, saying that a wide range of conditions could be treated in this. From glaucoma to macular degeneration and other difficult-to-treat conditions, such a simple, yet effective wearable could become invaluable and further improve health and wellbeing.

The complexities of healthcare make it an industry rife with innovation. Nano-sensors embedded in 3D printed bandages provide real-time, around-the-clock health reporting. A bra equipped with biosensors help detect physical changes that are associated with breast cancer. What areas and aspects of health care are currently underserved by technological innovation?

Email: sremus@mit.edu

Website: web.mit.edu

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