Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Purdue start-up develops contact lens that can detect glaucoma

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 18th, 2023

A Purdue University start-up is commercializing a contact lens that can detect glaucoma at its earliest stages.

BVS Sight Inc. has developed a technology to continuously monitor intraocular pressure (IOP) in a person’s eye. Studies have suggested that IOP variability is associated with retinal structure damage that occurs in patients with glaucoma.

Whereas current eye-monitoring lenses are usually thicker and stiffer than typical contact lenses, often leading to discomfort for patients, the lenses developed by BVS are built upon various commercial brands of soft contact lenses and can even be worn during sleep for 24-hour IOP monitoring.

“Our smart soft contact lenses retain the intrinsic lens features of lens power, biocompatibility, softness, transparency, wettability, oxygen transmissibility and overnight wearability,” says Chi Hwan Lee, professor at Purdue and lead developer of the smart lenses. “Having all these features at the same time is crucial to the success of translating the smart soft contact lenses into glaucoma care, but these features are lacking in current wearable ocular tonometers.”

BVS Sight is the first company launched through a recent partnership between Boomerang Ventures Studio, Purdue Foundry, and the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The partnership is aimed at developing Purdue-affiliated start-ups and bringing more healthcare technologies to the market.

“Lee’s technology has the potential to become a new standard of care for diagnosing and managing glaucoma patients,” says Eric Beier, partner and chief medical officer at Boomerang Ventures. “Developing medical technologies is very complex, and the company will need to work through multiple challenges including clinical studies, regulatory approval, reimbursement and fundraising. These are all areas where Boomerang brings resources and expertise to help our portfolio companies successfully and timely navigate through these complexities.”

Source: Ophthalmology

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