Smartlens raises $6.1M to measure eye pressure through a contact lens

Steven Loeb · July 11, 2023 · Short URL:

The idea is to allow glaucoma patients to continuously check their pressure

miLens is a groundbreaking, electronics-free, easy to use, soft contact lens that monitors intraocular pressure throughout the day.According to the World Health Organization, more than 50% of the over 76 million people who have glaucoma, a progressive eye diseases that permanently damages the optic nerve, are undiagnosed. And the number who have it is only expected to increase, with a projected 111.8 million by 2040. 

For glaucoma patients, it's critical to monitor their diurnal intraocular pressure (IOP); elevated eye pressure is the primary and only modifiable risk factor for the disease. However, as it currently stands, IOP can only be measured by an ophthalmologist, meaning pressure is only going to be taken for a couple of times a year, not enough to give a full picture of what's really happening.

What patient need is continuous monitoring, and that's what Smartlens provides in the form of a smart contact lens: its flagship product, miLens, is similar to a daily contact lens, but it can also measure IOP.

On Tuesday, the company announced a $6.1 million Series A financing round led by Ambit Health Ventures, joined by Stanford University, Graphene Ventures, Sophia Innovation Capital, Plaisance Capital Management, 3E Bioventures, Boutique Venture Partners and Wilson Sonsini Investments alongside doctors, and what the company calls "industry veterans  and key opinion leaders."

In addition to miLens, Smartlens owns a broad portfolio of clinical stage technologies meant to improve glaucoma management. That includes THERmic, which applies microdose personalized treatments based on the patient’s diurnal IOP. The product can work with all types of Glaucoma medications.

Smartlens says that plans to use the new funding to advance regulatory clearance for miLens.

"We are thrilled with the outstanding participation in our Series A, which will bring miLens one step closer to transforming glaucoma care. We would like to thank our partners for their valuable support in our mission," Savas Komban, CEO of Smartlens, said in a statement.

"Understanding the true nature of the disease in each patient throughout the day will allow proactive and well-informed clinical decisions. These decisions will play a vital role in preventing irreversible blindness for millions of glaucoma patients worldwide."

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