New research by scientists in the United States has revealed that a straightforward eye scan could help detect the early signs of nerve damage linked to diabetes .
The study, published in Optometry and Vision Science, reviewed work done on ophthalmic markers of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), in an attempt to offer a speedy way to screen for diabetes-related nerve damage during regular eye tests . Diabetic neuropathy is seen as one of the main long-term complications of type 2 diabetes, affecting around half of all diabetics .
Nathan Efro, who has worked on ophthalmic markers of DPN for many years, pointed out “Looking to the future, this research may pave the way for an expanded role for the ophthalmic professions in diabetes management .”
The breakthrough involved innovative techniques to show how diabetic neuropathy is linked to degradation of the corneal nerves, as well as reduced corneal sensitivity and peripheral visual field loss.
If these factors can be combined in an eye test that detects diabetic nerve damage at an early stage, it will mean a reduction in the amount of difficult nerve biopsies carried out for detecting DPN.
Efron and his team hope to develop a “rapid, painless, non-invasive, sensitive, reiterative, cost-effective, and clinically accessible means of screening for early detectio, diagnosis, staging severity, and monitoring progression of DPN, as well as assessing the effectiveness of possible therapeutic interventions.”

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