Retinal tissue thickness is reduced in diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Srinivasan, Sangeetha, Pritchard, Nicola, Edwards, Katie P., Russell, Anthony W., & Efron, Nathan (2013) Retinal tissue thickness is reduced in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In IDF World Diabetes Congress 2013, 2-6 December 2013, Melbourne, VIC. (Unpublished)



Retinal tissue integrity in relation to diabetic neuropathy is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate retinal tissue thickness in relation to diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) with and without diabetic retinopathy (DR).


Full retinal thickness at the parafoveal and perifoveal macula and neuro-retinal thickness around the optic nerve head (ONH) and at the macula was examined using spectral domain optical coherence tomography. The eye on the hand-dominant side of 85 individuals with type 1 diabetes and 66 individuals with type 2 diabetes, with or without DR and DPN, were compared to the eyes (n=45) of age-matched non-diabetic controls. Diabetic neuropathy was defined as Neuropathy Disability Score (NDS) ≥3 on a scale of 0-10. A general linear model was used to examine the relationship between diabetic neuropathy and foveal, parafoveal and perifoveal retinal thickness and neuro-retinal thickness, in relation to DR status, age, gender, HbA1c levels and duration of diabetes. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Perifoveal retinal thickness is reduced with increasing severity of neuropathy, especially in the inferior hemisphere (p=0.004); this effect was not related to age (p=0.088). For every unit increase in NDS score, the inferior perifoveal retinal thickness reduced by 1.64 μm. Neuro-retinal thickness around the ONH decreased with increasing severity of neuropathy (p<0.014 for average and hemisphere thicknesses); for every unit increase in NDS, neuro-retinal thickness around the ONH reduced by 1.23 μm. Retinal thickness in the parafovea was increased in the absence of DR (p<0.017 for average and hemisphere thicknesses). Neuro-retinal thickness at the macula was inversely related to age alone (p<0.001). All retinal parameters, except the inferior perifovea, reduced with advancing age (p<0.007 for all).


Diabetic neuropathy is associated with changes in full retinal thickness and neuro-retinal layers. This may represent a second threat to vision integrity, in addition to the better-characterised retinopathy. This study provides new knowledge about the anatomical aspects of the retinal tissue in relation to neuropathy and retinopathy.

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ID Code: 80061
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Retinal thickness, retinal nerve fibre layer, ganglion cell complex, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, neuropathy disability score
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 14 Jan 2015 23:02
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2015 23:02

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