How a new contact lens will free diabetics from regular blood tests

A smart contact lens could be on its way to help diabetics, by entirely replacing the need for regular blood tests.

The lens uses miniaturised sensors and a wireless transmitter to measure the amount of glucose in a patient's tears.

Google X laboratory's device has already gone through a series of clinical research studies - but the final product could take up to be five years to enter the market.

Google X project leader Brian Otis said:

We're testing a smart contact lens that we built that measures the glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and a miniaturised glucose sensor.

We've had to work really hard to develop tiny, low-powered electronics that operate on low levels of energy and really small glucose sensors.

Google is also in the process of developing LED lights to indicate when glucose levels have crossed certain levels. The company hopes to partner with other firms to develop apps making the measurements taken by the lens available to the user and their doctor.

The number of diabetes sufferers has grown substantially over recent years. There are 382m diabetics worldwide and one in ten is forecast to suffer from the disease by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation.