Injectable sensor designed to keep an eye on glaucoma
When someone has glaucoma, there's always a danger that pressure caused by fluid accumulating within the eye will damage the optic nerve, resulting in blindness. The Injectsense implant is designed to help, by constantly monitoring a recipient's intraocular pressure – or IOP, for short.
Ordinarily, glaucoma patients regularly get pressure-checks performed at an ophthalmologist's office. If it's determined that an excess of undrained aqueous humor fluid is causing their IOP to become dangerously high, then measures such as a change in medication or even surgery can be implemented.
Unfortunately, though, such checks are generally performed only a few times per year – any fluctuations that occur between those visits are missed. To that end, several groups have recently developed implants that remain in the eye permanently, allowing patients to perform their own IOP checks at home. That said, those devices do have to be implanted via eye surgery.
As its name implies, the tiny (2.5 by 0.6-mm) Injectsense sensor is instead simply injected into the eye's middle "pars plana" layer. The whole procedure – which admittedly still doesn't sound like it would be much fun – reportedly takes just five minutes, and can be performed by an ophthalmologist in their office.
In the technology's current form, the implant is temporarily powered up by the radio signal from a separate handheld reader device, allowing it to transmit data from within lab animals' eyes on demand. Ultimately, though, plans call for the implant to be powered by an integrated custom microbattery.
That battery would be wirelessly recharged via a wearable device, such as a pair of smartglasses. Working through those glasses and a paired smartphone, the implant would also regularly upload its IOP data to a cloud-based server. Utilizing an app, patients could then check their intraocular pressure whenever they want, seeing if they're staying within the targeted zone.
"We plan on conducting our first in-human studies in early 2021 or before," Injectsense CEO Ariel Cao tells us, regarding the company's future plans. "Our regulatory path would enable market release initially in Europe, and six months to a year later in the US."