Swiss drugmaker Novartis has struck an agreement with Google to develop “smart” contact lenses that would help diabetics track their blood glucose levels or restore the eye’s ability to focus.
The device for diabetics would measure glucose in tear fluid and send the data wirelessly to a mobile device, Novartis said. The technology is potentially life-changing for many diabetics, who prick their fingers as many as 10 times daily to check their body’s production of the sugar.
Success would allow Novartis to compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market that is expected to be worth over $12 billion by 2017, according to research firm GlobalData. Diabetes afflicts an estimated 382 million people worldwide.