Fibre optics sensors in tear electrolyte analysis: towards a novel point of care potassium sensor

Daniel Harvey, Neil Hayes, Brian Tighe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The diagnosis of ocular disease is increasingly important in optometric practice and there is a need for cost effective point of care assays to assist in that. Although tears are a potentially valuable source of diagnostic information difficulties associated with sample collection and limited sample size together with sample storage and transport have proved major limitations. Progressive developments in electronics and fibre optics together with innovation in sensing technology mean that the construction of inexpensive point of care fibre optic sensing devices is now possible. Tear electrolytes are an obvious family of target analytes, not least to complement the availability of devices that make the routine measurement of tear osmolarity possible in the clinic. In this paper we describe the design, fabrication and calibration of a fibre-optic based electrolyte sensor for the quantification of potassium in tears using the ex vivo contact lens as the sample source. The technology is generic and the same principles can be used in the development of calcium and magnesium sensors. An important objective of this sensor technology development is to provide information at the point of routine optometric examination, which would provide supportive evidence of tear abnormality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • fibre optic sensor
  • tear assay
  • tear analytes
  • dry eye


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