A new prototype contact lens called SENSIMED Triggerfish® Sensor is creating a stir among glaucoma specialists as it is set to be marketed in American shores this year. Although it has been successfully used in a number of European countries like Switzerland, Germany, France Italy and Spain for years, its release is still pending approval by the US FDA after clinical trials, one of which is spearheaded by Dr Robert Weibreb at the University of California, San Diego Eye Center.
The SENSIMED Triggerfish® Sensor is a soft hydrophilic single use contact lens, containing passive and active strain gauges embedded in the silicone to monitor fluctuations in diameter of the corneoscleral junction.2 With its special pressure sensor that detects changes in the corneal shape and an antennae embedded in its clear silicone lens it receives radio signals and transmits it to an external reading device where the glaucoma patient’s intraocular pressure are recorded in real time. Much like having a 24 hour personal eye doctor on call, it provides an accurate and consistent intraocular pressure reading wherever or whatever a patient is doing in a 24 hour period.
Intraocular pressure is one of the best gauges to know a person’s risk for glaucoma. Since higher pressures in glaucoma is believed to cause the destruction of eye’s neural tissues, it is also one of the ways glaucoma specialists determine if a patient will likely become blind or have difficulties in their vision later on.
During a regular eye check-up, an eye doctor utilizes a machine called a tonometer to measure the eye’s pressure. This device however only provides a limited information since the eye’s intraocular pressure fluctuates and normally is lowest during the daytime and highest at night. Therefore a patient suspected of glaucoma may not have a correct pressure reading in a single office day consult and would have to go to their eye doctor on several occasions.
But with the SENSIMED Triggerfish® Sensor, glaucoma patients are liberated from this cumbersome multiple clinic visits, and instead can have an accurate eye pressure evaluation in the comfort of their own homes. They just come in the next day with the triggerfish contact lens removed and have the data assessed and read in the doctor’s computer. This way, a glaucoma specialist can verify a diagnosis and get a patient’s true intraocular pressure pattern. Moreover, the triggerfish is also a good tool to monitor response in glaucoma therapies like the use of glaucoma eye drops or as a gauge after glaucoma surgery.
Dr Robert Weinreb says: “It’s the difference between seeing a single movie frame and watching a full-length motion picture. With more information, we better understand what is happening to the eye. We can provide earlier and more accurate diagnoses. We can detect changing conditions more quickly. We can adjust or alter treatments more effectively. The benefits are transformative. This is personalized medicine for the eye.”
With this Dr Weireb and his team hope to get favorable outcomes from the glaucoma participants they are studying until the first quarter of 2012 and subsequently get FDA approval by the end of the year. With its cutting-edge technology, Triggerfish® Sensor will indeed be one of the more sensitive and convenient diagnostic tool for glaucoma in the coming years. For more information on the Triggerfish® Sensor, you can visit SENSIMED’s website link below.
The triggerfish is just one of the exciting non-invasive technologies for glaucoma including canaloplasty. If you want to know more about canaloplasty as treatment for glaucoma and to see if you are a candidate for this treatment, visit http://new-glaucoma-treatments.com/canaloplasty-online-assessment-parent/canaloplasty/.
1. SENSIMED USA clinical study: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01319604
2. SENSIMED technical whitepaper on Sensimed triggerfish and press release. http://www.sensimed.ch/