Made to be non-invasive, the Sensimed Triggerfish is a continuous ocular monitoring system that uses a small telemetric sensor on disposable contact lenses. It is used to monitor glaucoma patients who are at risk of progression by capturing spontaneous changes in their eyes, allowing physicians with important information on their patient’s condition.
Monitoring the patient’s eye for 24 hours, the Sensimed Triggerfish provides a full image of the patient’s eye during their normal day. Since vision loss occurs at different rates for different people, this device allows doctors to help determine if the loss in vision is progressing at a fast or slow pace. Unlike normal optical appointments, the contact lenses provide the physicians with access to the changes in pressure, and volume of the patient’s eye, and also if there are any stress.
This allows specialists to visualise the patient’s IOP( intraocular pressure ) continuously. As mentioned Swissmed.Asia:
The data provided by the SENSIMED Triggerfish® complements punctual tonometer measurements and offers a qualitative profiling of the patient’s IOP for up to 24 hours. The pattern reproducibility of an individual patient’s profile allows for the optimisation of the glaucoma management*.
The Sensimed Triggerfish also helps doctors to determine the right treatment for the patients. There differing treatment levels for glaucoma, ranging from simply using eye drops to invasive surgical treatment. Thus, doctors would need to evaluate the severity of the situation before deciding on the appropriate treatment. This would be done effectively using a 24-hour monitoring system to follow the patients condition.
Patients would wear the device for a maximum of 24 hours, along with an adhesive antenna worn around the eye. Data is wirelessly transmitted from the contact lens to the antenna, and this data is then received by a portable data recorder worn by patients. This recorder then transmits the data via Bluetooth to the the physician’s computer.
The pros of this device is that it is non-invasive and can record and report changes in real time, allowing for quick response to any situation and also providing doctors full coverage of the condition of the patient. Unlike before, where patients have to repeated return to the clinic for multiple checkups, the device is more convenient for glaucoma patients, allowing them to have fewer physical checkups, yet still knowing their physicians are well-aware of their situation. It also does not interfere with their day to day activities.
In my opinion, the Sensimed Triggerfish is a great device as it targets the problem at hand directly, with a small convenient wearable device. Instead of large machines that need to be situated in clinics that patients have to repeatedly travel to use, such devices allow patients with more freedom amidst their checkups and diagnosis. This could definitely be extended to other health problems, such as diabetes. Patients who require often medicines would greatly benefit from wearable health devices.
One example would be the TheraOptix, created by Harvard Medical School. These are a pair contact lenses made to dispense medication directly into the eye of the patient over periodically over the course of days or weeks.
Such lenses could be paired up with the Sensimed Triggerfish, allowing patients to say goodbye to inconvenient continuous usage of eye-drops and repeatedly traveling to clinics for check ups. Since the elderly are at higher risk of glaucoma, this reduction in traveling and movement would be useful for them, as they would not be required to exert themselves as much as before.
I also really like the idea of the device being a pair of contact lenses that would be hard to be distinguished by others if they did not pay attention. While it is true the antenna makes the wearer stand out, perhaps if the technology advances further for the data to be sent directly to the portable data recorder, it would allow patients to have a smooth day without any glances from passersby. This may not be the intent of the device (to make the data recording inconspicuous), but medical devices being smaller and less obvious would perhaps allow users to feel more at ease and comfortable without the unneeded attention.
Some small cons of the Sensimed Triggerfish is that it has no optical correction, and thus patients with degrees may have to either carry on their day with blurry vision. Dry and red eyes is also said to be a common problem, though this could be solved with some eyedrops.
While the above two cons mentioned may bring some discomfort, I believe the pros of the device currently outweighs these cons. Allowing physicians to full data of the patient means that these patients would also receive better and more appropriate treatment. Thus, the Sensimed Triggerfish still proves to be a useful tool in this sense.
Yet, we must consider that the device may not be very suitable for their target audience. Since the target audience are patients with glaucoma, which are mainly elders, is the contact lenses suitable for those of much older ages? I believe those around their 50s would well benefit from this device and be able to use it with ease. However, those older, perhaps 65 and above, may not be able to wear the contact lenses well.
Those who seldom wear contact lenses may also find themselves using more time to wear the device rather than visiting the clinic. It may also not be comfortable for those who are not suited for contact lenses.
All in all, I think this device can be considered a breakthrough in health devices but definitely has more room to improve and expand on.