The idea sounded impressive: a contact lens in the eye should also measure glucose levels in patients with diabetes – because blood sugar can also be found in the tear fluid. Novartis and Google (more precisely Novartis subsidiary Alcon and Health Care Department Alphabet Verily) met four years ago to merge their development knowledge.
Obviously, the results were disappointing. Brian Otis, chief technical director of Verily, announced that the project will be suspended. "In a place where we and Alcon decided to stop working on the lens that detects glucose," writes on Verily's blog.
Clinical trials have shown that there is insufficient consistent relationship between the blood glucose level in the tear fluid and the blood level. It turned out to be very complicated to reliably measure the concentration of glucose in the eye. At the moment, it was not possible to achieve a "medical device request", says Brian Otis.
However, this does not mean a complete elimination of team work by Verily and Alcon: work continues to develop an adaptive contact lens for patients with presbiopia and other projects for "smart" lenses.