Bill Harvey: Inspect a gadget
Author: Bill Harvey
I do love a good gadget and recently have come across three I believe worth mentioning, each offering a different approach to health management.
The first was a new method of monitoring blood glucose levels in diabetes that does away with finger pricking. Having seen the black and blue extremities of many a diabetic caused by constant needle pricking, I have started telling people about the new Freestyle Libre. This is a small disc sensor applied to the arm where it remains for around two weeks before needing replacement. The sensor transmits a constant reading of blood sugar levels to a smart phone or even a Fitbit device and will warn the wearer whenever blood glucose approaches any dangerous levels.
Eye-tracking technology continues to open up new ways of monitoring eye health. Researchers in Madrid are fine tuning the OSCANN Desk device. This is able to monitor the eye movements of patients as they look at different screen presented stimuli. There is evidence that neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s affect eye movements and so the device is showing promise as a non-invasive yet sensitive way of detecting early disease progression.
Finally, I was lucky enough to be involved this week in some discussion of a new prototype appliance which aims to incorporate various sensors into spectacles to offer feedback data on a number of parameters such as ambient light levels, viewing distances and eye movements. In fact, a veritable Fitbit for the eyes.
Having a patient wear such a device for a period prior to dispensing would fine tune the design of any bespoke multifocal. Indeed, soon I imagined all sorts of uses for such a device – monitoring compliance with optical or occlusive intervention, feedback establishment of a null point, monitoring blink rates and signalling an alarm when a break is needed or a driver is nodding off. Now should I push for a patent?