A new method of testing blood glucose levels using a laser sensor could transform the lives of people with diabetes who currently have to prick their fingers several times a day to measure their blood glucose levels.

Professor Gin Jose and a team at the University of Leeds have developed a small device which uses low-powered lasers to measure blood glucose levels. A special type of glass has been engineered with ions that fluoresce when the laser light hits them and when this glass is placed on the skin the fluorescence signal varies to indicate the concentration of glucose in the blood.

The method is a non-invasive alternative to the typical process of testing glucose levels, where people with diabetes prick their fingers, squeeze blood onto testing strips and use a glucometer to check the results, which can prove to be uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Although in the early stages of development, it is hoped that a wearable version which would provide continuous monitoring will be developed, and that this type of non-invasive monitoring will help minimise emergency hospital treatment through improved self-regulating.

Michael Burrell, a senior clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office, said: “Diabetes requires close management from medical staff and patients themselves, but current methods of monitoring blood-glucose levels can be both challenging and inconvenient for patients. Any new technology which could help people with diabetes to manage their condition is a welcome development.

“The consequences of poorly managed diabetes can include strokes, amputation, blindness or even death. While it is hoped this technology will enable patients to better manage their own blood glucose levels on a day-to-day basis, it is essential patients receive the required medical checks and care to ensure they do not fall victim to the consequences of insufficiently managed diabetes.”