On-demand screening, real-time monitoring and rapid diagnosis of ubiquitous diseases, such as diabetes, at early stages are indispensable in personalised treatment. Emerging impacts of nano/microscale materials on optical and portable biosensor strips and devices have become increasingly important in the remarkable development of sensitive visualisation (i.e. visible inspection by the human eye) assays, low-cost analyses and personalised home testing of patients with diabetes. With the increasing public attention regarding the self-monitoring of diabetes, the development of visual readout, easy-to-use and wearable biosensors has gained considerable interest. Our comprehensive review bridges the practical assessment gap between optical bio-visualisation assays, disposable test strips, sensor array designs and full integration into flexible skin-based or contact lens devices with the on-site wireless signal transmission of glucose detection in physiological fluids. To date, the fully modulated integration of nano/microscale optical biosensors into wearable electronic devices, such as smartphones, is critical to prolong periods of indoor and outdoor clinical diagnostics. Focus should be given to the improvements of invasive, wireless and portable sensing technologies to improve the applicability and reliability of screen display, continuous monitoring, dynamic data visualisation, online acquisition and self and in-home healthcare management of patients with diabetes.
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