Measuring the glucose level of tears could provide an alternative to blood testing for people with diabetes. Researchers from the University of Michigan have been looking into the reliability and accuracy of a glucose sensor that works on tears.
The concentration of glucose in tears is about 30 to 50 times lower than in blood which means sensors will need to be more sensitive than blood glucose test strips. A further challenge that needs to be addressed is the stimulation of enough tear fluid without producing a stress response that could increase blood glucose levels.
Jeffrey LaBelle, Biomedical Engineer at Arizona State University says: “Glucose is also a stress responder, so if you stress the eye you can get an inaccurate reading.”
Dr George Grunberger of the Diabetes Institute in Bloomfield Hills, Michiga, states that if tear testing is to become a future blood glucose monitoring method, blood glucose testing may still be needed to calibrate the tear sensor.
Pain free testing would be welcomed by people with diabetes, particularly amongst the newly diagnosed, if accuracy of the testing can be suitably reliable.

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