Corneal nerve structure and function as markers of diabetic neuropathy

Pritchard, Nicola (2012) Corneal nerve structure and function as markers of diabetic neuropathy. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Diabetic neuropathy is a significant clinical problem that currently has no effective therapy, and in advanced cases, leads to foot ulceration and lower limb amputation. The accurate detection, characterisation and quantification of this condition are important in order to define at-risk patients, anticipate deterioration, monitor progression and assess new therapies. This thesis evaluates novel corneal methods of assessing diabetic neuropathy. Over the past several years two new non-invasive corneal markers have emerged, and in cross-sectional studies have demonstrated their ability to stratify the severity of this disease. Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) allows quantification of corneal nerve parameters and non-contact corneal aesthesiometry (NCCA), the presumed functional correlate of corneal structure, assesses the sensitivity of the cornea. Both these techniques are quick to perform, produce little or no discomfort for the patient, and with automatic analysis paradigms developed, are suitable for clinical settings. Each has advantages and disadvantages over established techniques for assessing diabetic neuropathy. New information is presented regarding measurement bias of CCM images, and a unique sampling paradigm and associated accuracy determination method of combinations is described. A novel high-speed corneal nerve mapping procedure has been developed and application of this procedure in individuals with neuropathy has revealed regions of sub-basal nerve plexus that dictate further evaluation, as they appear to show earlier signs of damage than the central region of the cornea that has to date been examined. The discriminative capacity of corneal sensitivity measured by NCCA is revealed to have reasonable potential as a marker of diabetic neuropathy. Application of these new corneal markers for longitudinal evaluation of diabetic neuropathy has the potential to reduce dependence on more invasive, costly, and time-consuming assessments, such as skin biopsy.

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ID Code: 52722
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Efron, Nathan & Russell, Anthony
Keywords: repeatability, corneal nerves, diabetes, neuropathy, non-contact corneal aesthesiometry, corneal sensitivity, neuropathy disability score, ophthalmic markers, corneal confocal microscopy, corneal markers, diabetic neuropathy
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Jul 2012 06:35
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:13

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