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Zsofia Kolkedi, Adrienne Csutak, Eszter Szalai; Pre-Ophthalmoscopic Quantitative Biomarkers in Diabetes Mellitus. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2023;12(3):24. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.3.24.
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The purpose of this study was to assess whether retinal microvascular or corneal nerve abnormalities occur earlier in diabetes mellitus (DM) and to identify imaging biomarkers in order to help prevent the subsequent irreversible retinal and corneal complications.
The study comprised 35 eyes of 35 healthy volunteers and 52 eyes of 52 patients with type 1 and type 2 DM. Swept-source optical coherence tomography (OCT), OCT angiography, and in vivo corneal confocal microscopy were performed in both groups. Corneal sub-basal nerve plexus and vessel density (VD) of superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP) were evaluated.
All corneal sub-basal nerve fiber parameters were decreased in patients with DM compared with healthy subjects and the difference was significant for each result except for nerve fiber width (P = 0.586). No significant correlation was obtained between any nerve fiber morphology parameters and disease duration or HbA1C. VD in SCP was significantly decreased in the superior (P < 0.0001), temporal (P = 0.001), and nasal quadrant (P = 0.003) in the diabetes group. In DCP, only superior VD (P = 0.036), decreased significantly in the diabetes group. Ganglion cell layer thickness in the inner ring showed a significantly lower value in patients with DM (P < 0.0001).
Our results implicate a more pronounced and earlier damage to the corneal nerve fibers compared to the retinal microvasculature in patients with DM.
In DM, an earlier and more pronounced damage to the corneal nerve fibers was observed compared to the retinal microvasculature.
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