Wearable Bioelectronics for Continuous Glaucoma Monitoring
|Interdisciplinary Areas:||Engineering-Medicine, Human-Machine/Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Human-Centered Design
Currently, the only way to delay glaucoma progression is to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), and thereby, minimize optic nerve damage. However, nyctohemeral (i.e., 24-hour) IOP rhythm exists in most glaucoma patients wherein the largest IOP peaks often occur overnight in a supine position and without pain. In turn, irreversible loss in vision may occur during sleep, without the patient noticing it. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the 24-hour IOP rhythm of individual patients for effective glaucoma care. Recent technological advances in wearable ocular tonometers enable continuous IOP monitoring, but their long-term use in human eyes remains impeded by the lack of eye safety, reliability, and quality in routine clinical practice. To address this unmet need, we propose to develop a unique class of wearable ocular tonometers built upon various brands of commercial soft contact lenses. Through a combination of chemistry, materials science, and bioengineering, the resulting wearable contact lens sensors will offer excellent biocompatibility, softness, wearability, transparency, oxygen transmissibility, and deformability as similar as bare soft contact lenses. Therefore, the contact lens sensors will provide superior user comfort, measurement accuracy, and inter-subject repeatability.
Potential candidates should be eager to develop new skills with respect to chemistry, biology, and engineering while building from a relevant skill set that was acquired during their previous studies. Moreover, potential candidates should be able to work well independently and as a member of interdisciplinary, fast-moving teams. Previous experience with respect to organic chemistry, organic electronic device fabrication, and/or biomedical engineering is preferred, but it is not required.