Author(s): Daley ML, Watzke RC, Riddle MC
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Abstract Existing methods for early detection of ocular injury from diabetes have serious limitations. We describe a new method, measuring visual flicker discrimination of the blue-sensitive mechanism of vision. This method is noninvasive, quantitative, and capable of distinguishing two types of impairment. Blue-flicker discrimination was measured in 10 adults with type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes for less than 5 yr. Although no evidence of diabetic changes was detected by careful ophthalmic examination by an experienced ophthalmologist, 12 of 19 eyes (63\%) had flicker discrimination scores considered abnormal in comparison with those of a control group, and 8 of 10 subjects (80\%) had at least 1 eye with abnormal performance. In all but 2 abnormal eyes the deficit of blue-flicker discrimination was of the "absorptive" type, suggesting increased absorbance or scattering of blue light in the optical media. These data show that a functional impairment of vision can be measured very early in the course of type I diabetes, before visible retinopathy is present, and suggest this test procedure may have both investigative and clinical applications.
This article was published in Diabetes Care
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology