By now, we’re all familiar with the idea of wearable health trackers. But we’re used to seeing them on our wrists. If Google gets its way, the next batch of wearables may be worn in your eyes.
The company’s experimental wing, Google[x], announced on Thursday its plan to test a prototype of a smart contact lens that would monitor the sugar levels of diabetes patients, possibly alerting them when glucose levels become dangerously high or low.
The problem with amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, isn’t treatment. If caught early enough in children, the condition can be easily addressed, often with something as simple as a pair of glasses. Instead, the issue lies with detection: If caught too late, amblyopia can lead to blindness in one eye.
Traditionally, schools have been responsible for screening students for vision disorders, referring those with issues to an eye doctor. But as school nurses can attest, the process can be fraught with problems. Tiffany Vold, head nurse at Sevilla Primary School in Phoenix, said her eight-year-old son consistently passed wall-chart exams, scoring 20/20 both at her office and the optometrist. Yet when she sat him down in front of a computer to play a vision-screening game, the results were much different: He failed—twice. “Now he’s in glasses, and he can see,” she said.