structure image What Are Smart Contacts?


You’re familiar with smart technology such as smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs, and even smart glasses. But have you heard of smart contact lenses?  

What Are Smart Contacts? 

Like other smart devices, smart contacts are an everyday product amped up with new technology. Smart contacts have the potential to do much more than help people see clearly. At some point, they could also be used to:  

  • Treat eye injuries 
  • Monitor health 
  • Access augmented reality (AR) 
  • Provide real-time language translation  
  • Track eye movements to control a computer, smartphone, and other devices 
  • Administer eye medication 
  • Treat eye conditions 

As technology advances, the possibilities will grow even more. Two types of smart contacts are available now:  

Lenses that Monitor Glaucoma Patients 

The Triggerfish contact lens sensor measures eye changes related to intraocular pressure (eye pressure) in a glaucoma patient during a 24-hour period. Their eye doctor then uses the data collected to determine if their glaucoma treatment is working or if it needs to be adjusted. The lens may also help a doctor understand how quickly a glaucoma patient’s vision loss may progress. 


For the technology to work, the patient wears the smart contact lens along with a soft antenna around their eye. Once the monitoring period has concluded, the eye doctor will remove the smart lens and antenna. 

Light-Adjusting Lenses 

Transition contact lenses are made with photochromic material that reacts to different lighting conditions. They’re clear indoors and darken instantly when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun.  

The Future of Smart Contact Lenses 

What else could smart lenses do in the near future?


Glucose Monitoring 

Glucose monitoring contact lenses offer diabetics a noninvasive way to track their blood sugar levels. These lenses contain special sensors that measure glucose concentration in a person’s tears. They provide continual glucose detection and real-time monitoring.  


Information on glucose levels is collected by a sensor embedded in the smart lens, which is sent to the lens wearer’s smartphone. The person can then use the recorded measurements to track fluctuations in blood sugar levels and help control their diabetic condition. 

Medical Treatments 

Imagine if you could improve your eye health just by wearing contact lenses. Here are some ways a smart lens could make that a reality: 

  • Allergy relief – It’s estimated that as many as 40% of Americans have eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis. If you’re in this group, you know how uncomfortable itchy, watery, sore eyes can be, especially if you wear contacts. In 2022, the FDA approved the first contact lens with the antihistamine ketotifen added to the lens material to relieve eye allergies.  
  • Treat injuries to the cornea – The cornea is the clear layer at the front of your eye that focuses light to help you see clearly. Researchers are experimenting with a contact lens that helps heal corneal injuries, such as corneal scratches, having a foreign body in your eye, and chemical burns. 
  • Treat other eye issues – An Australian university is developing a contact lens that can help heal corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the cornea. This new lens has corneal cells on its inner surface, which come into contact with the eye. 
  • Treat eye conditions – Some companies are working on a smart lens that can deliver medicine directly to the eye to treat eye health problems like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, which is an eye condition affecting people with diabetes that can cause vision loss and blindness.  

Vision Improvement 

The majority of contacts available today provide vision correction. But in the near future, smart contacts  could do more, such as: 

  • Magnify images – A prototype of a contact lens has been developed that can switch between normal and magnified vision. The lens, which is just 1mm thick, has mirrors that form a telescope within the contact lens, allowing for vision magnification. These smart contact lenses could help people with low vision, which is reduced sight that can’t be corrected with glasses, contacts, or any other treatment methods. 
  • Manage presbyopia – One company is developing switchable-focus contact lenses for people with presbyopia (an age-related condition that makes it difficult to focus on things up close and at arm’s length). This lens could help wearers see clearly at these distances.
  • Enhance color vision – Contact lenses that correct color blindness do exist, but they’re not customized for the wearer. To address this concern, personalized color-enhancing contacts are in development.
  • Sense the pH of tears – Research is underway to create contacts that can monitor the acidity or alkalinity (the pH) of tears. If the pH level of your tears is too high or too low, it can possibly indicate an eye health issue.

Augmented Reality Functions  

Augmented reality (AR) uses technology like software, applications, and AR glasses to bring digital content into your real-world surroundings.  


A smart contact lens for AR has been made with a 3D printer. This type of lens could be used for GPS navigation to give you real-time directions and to play games without using your smartphone.   


Smart contact lenses have the potential to positively impact the quality of life for people with vision impairments, to offer convenient access to information, and to play a role in early disease detection. It could be years until some of this technology is available for mainstream use. Until then, we’ve got you covered with a wide variety of contact lenses for your prescription and lifestyle.