Vipin G, B.Optom

M.Optom Student, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, Chennai, India



Primarily contact lenses were introduced to treat vision related problems and later were enhanced for multiple purposes like ocular protection, drug delivery system, wound healing and improving visual potential.

The concept of contact lens started to evolve from 1508, when it was conceptualised by Leonardo da Vinci and the first contact lens was manufactured later in 1887.(1) Contact lenses started to evolve from glass to plastic, in the form of hard and soft lenses. While looking at the evolution of contact lenses, this blog explains how the new smart contact lenses are made to act, beyond the basic management.

Smart Contact Lens in Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, which causes irreversible vision loss and requires continuous medical care for lifetime. IntraOcular Pressure (IOP) is an important indicator in glaucoma and patients need to monitor IOP and maintain it at a lower range.

In such cases of continuous maintenance and monitoring of IOP, smart contact lenses are introduced for application in patients with glaucoma. The lens is highly integrated with theranostics(2) (diagnostic biomarkers with therapeutic agents) to monitor and control IOP in glaucoma patients. The theranostic smart contact lens comprises of –

  1. A gold hollow nanowire based IOP sensor
  2. A flexible drug delivery system
  3. Wireless Circuits
  4. An Ultra-low power application specific integrated circuit

Features of Smart Contact Lens(3)

    The gold hollow nanowire will help to achieve high sensitivity and stability with relatively high transparency for long term monitoring of IOP.
    The flexible DDS system with a biocompatible protective layer is fabricated for high drug loading efficiency into the smart contact lens, where all the components are fabricated and highly integrated on the plane of parylene C substrate.

Working of the Lens

When the rise in IOP is detected by the IOP sensor with high sensitivity and chemical stability, the flexible DDS will release Timolol on demand by the electrochemical dissolution of gold channels. In this way, the smart contact lens helps in monitoring and controlling IOP in a patient with glaucoma.(4,5)

When the study demonstrating the lens was performed in vivo, it was shown that smart contact lens helps for successful monitoring and control of IOP in animal models.(3)


Various smart contact lenses are coming up and trials are being conducted to see the possibilities and efficacies of its application. Thus, these lenses bring higher expectations of disease management and monitoring, and if found successful, can be of great help to the human population.



  1. Heitz, RF and Enoch, J. M. (1987) “Leonardo da Vinci: An assessment on his discourses on image formation in the eye.” Advances in Diagnostic Visual Optics 19—26, Springer-Verlag.
  2. Wilson, D.J. (2018) What is Theranostics? News Medical Life Sciences
  3. Kim, T. Y., Mok, J. W., Hong, S. H., Jeong, S. H., Choi, H., Shin, S., Joo, C. K., & Hahn, S. K. (2022). Wireless theranostic smart contact lens for monitoring and control of intraocular pressure in glaucoma. Nature communications, 13(1), 6801.
  4. Maeng, B., Chang, H. K., & Park, J. (2020). Photonic crystal-based smart contact lens for continuous intraocular pressure monitoring. Lab on a chip, 20(10), 1740–1750.
  5. Green, K (2022). Smart contact lenses: Would you wear tiny computers in your eyes?