Stanford scientists have just announced that they have developed an eye-pluggable module that can stimulate tear production at the touch of a button, which could help more than 20 million Americans who suffer from t '' a lacrimal fluid deficit leading to irritation or tearing of the cornea.
It is a neurostimulator which uses micro electrical impulses. Its use could range from stimulation of the lacrimal glands when the user stares at a screen for too long, to the treatment of more serious disorders whose origin is often due to certain drug treatments.
The lack of tears can lead to significant damage to the eye until temporary or total blindness. Liquids to hydrate the cornea are a solution that does not offer the effectiveness of natural tears, which is why researchers have looked into a more effective solution.
The module can be installed by injection or via a micro incision under the eyebrow or from the nasal cavity. It then sends electric shocks to the lacrimal glands to stimulate the flow of tears.
The stimulation is controlled by a wireless remote control. The module is recharged by induction. We do not currently know what the capacity of the built-in battery is or how long it will take to recharge it. Everything could be integrated into glasses for more convenience.
The system is currently in the hands of medical certification bodies in the USA, clinical trials are underway and its commercialization could take place in the coming years.