Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis announced today that its eye care division Alcon has entered into an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to license its “smart lens” technology for all ocular medical uses. The agreement with Google X, a team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to global problems, provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google’s “smart lens” technology with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon’s pipeline and global leadership in contact lenses and intra-ocular lenses.
The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses. One of their first focuses is helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally-invasive measurement of the body’s glucose levels via a the lens, which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device.
Another focus is for people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the “smart lens” has the potential to provide helpful vision correction to help restore the eye’s natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an obliging contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.
The technology is still in its early stages, but with the Google X / Novartis agreement in place, expect to see this project progress at a great rate.