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New Device Could Provide Insights Into Glaucoma

— Doctors at UCSD are testing a futuristic contact lens that may help researchers develop better treatments for glaucoma. The device provides 'round-the-clock measurement of internal eye pressure.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of preventable blindness. Excessive pressure within the eye is a key risk factor.

Dr. Robert Weinreb chairs the opthalmology department at UCSD's Shiley Eye Center. He said internal eye pressure is usually measured in a doctor's office. The new smart contact lens tracks pressure over a 24-hour period.

"And if we can recognize when the eye pressure is highest," Dr. Weinreb said, "we can then employ drugs and other therapies to personalize the management of glaucoma."

Dr. Weinreb said current treatments can slow the progression of glaucoma. But there is no cure for the disease.

Nearly 70 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. Doctors say about half of those with the condition don't know it.

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