Research to Prevent Blindness Funds Research for Eye Implant
Researchers at Caltech have developed an implantable pressure sensor that can reside in the human eye for years at a time while wirelessly sending data about the eye’s health to the patient or medical professionals. The implant could make it easier to prevent one of the leading causes of blindness.
“By bringing together novel packaging and microelectronic technologies, and in close collaborations with ophthalmologists, we were able to design a miniaturized, fully wireless, and highly-sensitive sensor,” says Azita Emami, Caltech’s Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering and a Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, and paper co-author.
The sensor is designed for monitoring the eyes of patients with glaucoma, a disease that causes gradual loss of vision, usually as a result of excessively high pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is the second-most-common cause of blindness after cataracts, affecting 65 million people worldwide.
Patients at risk for glaucoma are required to make regular visits to an ophthalmologist to have their intraocular pressure (eye pressure) checked, usually with a device called a tonometer. A tonometer presses a small prism against the surface of the eye and determines the pressure inside by measuring how much the surface deflects, kind of like a person squeezing a basketball with their fingers to see if it’s sufficiently inflated...