Progress towards a painless and hygienic glucose monitoring procedure for diabetics continues as the growth of diabetes mellitus reaches epidemic proportions in the American population. Utilizing an implantable fluorescence based glucose assay, the minimally invasive approach presented here has previously shown promise towards this goal in terms of glucose specificity and quantification for in vitro environments. However, in realistic physiological circumstances the depth of the implant can vary and optical properties of skin can change due to normal physiological conditions. Additionally, naturally occurring auto-fluorescence can obscure the sensor signal. An important concern under these conditions is that variations of fluorescent intensity due to these or other causes might be mistaken for glucose concentration fluctuations. New data shows that fluorescence-based glucose assays can be probed and interpreted in terms of glucose concentrations through pig skin at depths of up to 700 mm when immobilized in a bio-compatible polymer. When a combination of two fluorophores are employed as demonstrated here, reasonable changes in skin thickness and the confounding effects of the variations inherent in skin can be overcome for this glucose sensing application.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.