Eye implant to monitor glaucoma
15 August 2007
A sensor for implanting in the eye to monitor glaucoma
by measuring pressure in the eye's interior has been developed by
researchers at Purdue University.
The pressure sensor, which is placed
between two layers of tissue in the eye, measures the interocular pressure
and transmits the information to an external receiver so pressure can be
"Glaucoma is one of the big two irreversible, but preventable, causes of
blindness," said Pedro Irazoqui, an assistant professor of biomedical
The disease causes blindness from a build-up of fluid
pressure in the interior chamber of the eye, killing fibres in the optic
nerve. Glaucoma patients go to the doctor periodically to have their eye
pressure checked. If it is high, the doctor prescribes medication or
"The problem is that your interocular pressure spikes
over hours, sometimes minutes," Irazoqui said. "So you can be fine today and
fine in six months and spend three months in the middle where it's very
high, killing your optic nerve. What you really need to do is check it
often, every couple of minutes, but you can't go to the doctor every couple
of minutes for the rest or your life. So what you need is a device that
measures your eye pressure continuously."
Collaborating on the research is
Babak Ziaie, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering,
working at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.
Purdue researchers are planning to conduct animal trials by December and
human trials within 18 months. The device is fully implantable and includes
A paper on the project will be presented at the Engineering in
Medicine and Biology Society's Sciences and Technologies for Health
conference from Aug. 23-26 in Lyon, France.
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