Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy

Early detection of diabetic eye disease should lead to earlier and more targeted treatment for those with this complication of T1D. Investigators at the JDRF Center for Diabetic Retinopathy in Michigan have advanced the idea that changes in retinal nerve function may precede loss of vision or changes in retinal blood vessels that is detectable by photographing the interior of the eye. Some of these changes may be detectable through devices developed to test multiple measures of visual function. This study found that subjects with T1D and early-stage, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) showed impairment in several of the measures. In particular, people with T1D and NPDR had poorer performance in a test called frequency doubling perimetry which measures the visual field and likely reflects the function of certain nerve cells in the retina. This may represent a more sensitive test of early retinal impairment related to T1D.

Reference:

Inner retinal visual dysfunction is a sensitive marker of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Jackson GR, Scott IU, Quillen DA, Walter LE, Gardner TW. Br J Ophthalmol. 2011 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

JDRF is committed to better detection of diabetic eye disease, and to the identification and validation of tests which may allow shorter and more informative clinical trials for diabetic eye disease. Although this research is at an early stage, the tests used in this research may have this potential and further studies are being planned to validate their use in diabetic eye disease.

JDRF Involvement:

JDRF funded these studies through a Center Grant.