New device could ease pain of blood sugar testing in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

One of the more unpleasant aspects of having type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is monitoring blood sugar levels. This often involves somewhat painful pricks on the fingers to draw blood for testing. However, a new system being developed by a team of engineers at Arizona State University may help individuals avoid this process by testing their tears.

The researchers reported in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology that their system could help individuals keep better track of their blood sugar levels. Often, when diabetics become lax in their testing, complications can arise. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and retinopathy.

However, the new testing method could be easier for individuals to use on a daily basis as it sidesteps the need to draw blood. This could help more diabetics avoid the complications that come along with poorly controlled blood sugar.

The system involves drawing tears and measuring the sugar levels in the fluid. The researchers say that this method can give just as accurate a reading of blood sugar levels as actual blood without the need to break the skin.

"The problem with current self-monitoring blood glucose technologies is not so much the sensor, it's the painful finger prick that makes people reluctant to perform the test," said Jeffrey T. LaBelle, who is developing the technology. "This new technology might encourage patients to check their blood sugars more often, which could lead to better control of their diabetes by a simple touch to the eye."

He added that there is still a significant amount of testing that needs to be done before the product can hit the market. However, it appears to have significant promise and has drawn interest from investors, which may help it land in the hands of individuals with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes sooner.