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A. Moavenshahidi, G. P. Sampson, N. Pritchard, K. Edwards, D. Vagenas, A. Russell, R. A. Malik, N. Efron; Exploring Retinal Markers of Diabetic Neuropathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):2241.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate the application of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness as a marker for severity of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in people with Type 2 diabetes.
This was a cross-sectional study whereby 61 participants (mean age 61 [41-75 years], mean duration of diabetes 14 [1-40 years], 70% male) with Type 2 diabetes and DPN underwent optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans. Global and 4 quadrant (TSNI) RNFL thicknesses were measured at 3.45mm around the optic nerve head of one eye. Neuropathy disability score (NDS) was used to assess the severity of DPN on a 0 to 10 scale. Participants were divided into three age-matched groups representing mild (NDS=3-5), moderate (NDS=6-8) and severe (NDS=9-10) neuropathy. Two regression models were fitted for statistical analysis: 1) NDS scores as co-variate for global and quadrant RNFL thicknesses, 2) NDS groups as a factor for global RNFL thickness only.
Mean (SD) RNFL thickness (µm) was 103(9) for mild neuropathy (n=34), 101(10) for moderate neuropathy (n=16) and 95(13) in the group with severe neuropathy (n=11). Global RNFL thickness and NDS scores were statistically significantly related (b=-1.20, p=0.048). When neuropathy was assessed across groups, a trend of thinner mean RNFL thickness was observed with increasing severity of neuropathy; however, this result was not statistically significant (F=2.86, p=0.065). TSNI quadrant analysis showed that mean RNFL thickness reduction in the inferior quadrant was 2.55 µm per 1 unit increase in NDS score (p=0.005). However, the regression coefficients were not statistically significant for RNFL thickness in the superior (b=-1.0, p=0.271), temporal (b=-0.90, p=0.238) and nasal (b=-0.99, p=0.205) quadrants.
RNFL thickness was reduced with increasing severity of DPN and the effect was most evident in the inferior quadrant. Measuring RNFL thickness using OCT may prove to be a useful, non-invasive technique for identifying severity of DPN and may also provide additional insight into common mechanisms for peripheral neuropathy and RNFL damage.
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