Diabetes breakthrough could save sufferers from drawing blood by testing tears insteadBy Claire Bates
Last updated at 12:21 PM on 11th November 2011
Diabetics have to test their blood sugar levels from two to 10 times a day by drawing a droplet of blood with a finger-prick test.
However, some people don't measure their levels often enough because of the discomfort it causes.
The study, which used rabbits as human substitutes, found glucose levels in tears correlated to glucose levels in the blood.
The researchers said in the journal Analytical Chemistry: 'Thus it may be possible to measure tear glucose levels multiple times per day to monitor blood glucose changes without the potential pain from the repeated invasive blood drawing method.'
Fingers can become sensitive over time and there is always a small risk of infection.
Frequent tests are essential for people with type 1 diabetes, who can't produce the hormone insulin, needed to control blood sugar levels.
Skin prick tests are the only way to safely monitor glucose levels and will let patients know if they need an insulin injection.
If blood sugar levels fall too low, type one diabetics can develop hypoglycaemia, which can lead to coma and death if left untreated.
People with type 2 diabetes don't produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Although it can be treated with a healthier diet and exercise it is a progressive condition and medication may be needed when the condition is more advanced.
Those with type 2 diabetes may only need to test themselves twice a week if they manage to get their sugar levels under control.
Diabetes affects 2.8 million people in the UK and 26 million people in the U.S. The majority of sufferers have type 2 of the condition.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2060258/New-diabetes-device-tests-tears-instead-blood.html#ixzz1dhHl9Qn3