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June 1996

In Vivo Assessment of Corneal Endothelial Function in Diabetes Mellitus

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(6):649-653. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130641001

Objective:  To evaluate in vivo corneal endothelial function in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus with or without diabetic retinopathy.

Methods:  In age-matched samples of 45 eyes of diabetic patients and 15 eyes of healthy control subjects, corneal endothelial function was evaluated by using pachometric measurements of the cornea following hydrophilic contact lens wear of low oxygen transmissibility. Corneal deswelling regression was quantitated to arrive at the percentage recovery per hour as an index of endothelial function. The status of retinopathy was determined in diabetic patients by using standard criteria.

Results:  In patients with diabetes mellitus and diabetic retinopathy, the assessed mean (±SD) value for the percentage recovery per hour following contact lensinduced edema was 40.03%±7.27%, which was significantly lower than in eyes without changes of diabetic retinopathy (54.31%±6.88%). Also, diabetic patients without retinopathy had a significantly lower percentage recovery per hour than did healthy control subjects (65.27%±12.02%).

Conclusions:  This study demonstrates significantly lower corneal endothelial function in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and thus suggests a higher potential to decompensate following any deleterious stress.