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Article
November 1989

Diabetic Neuropathy and Braille Ability

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Endocrinology and the Department of Internal Medicine (Drs Bernbaum and Albert), and the Department of Neurology (Dr McGarry), St Louis (Mo) University School of Medicine.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(11):1179-1181. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520470033022
Abstract

• Thirty-five individuals with visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy underwent neurologic examination with special emphasis on two-point discrimination and nerve conduction studies to determine whether concomitant peripheral neuropathy would interfere with their ability to read braille. Twenty-two individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (9 men and 13 women) and 13 with non— insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (4 men and 9 women) were evaluated. All had peripheral neuropathy; there were 4 with stage 1, 29 with stage 2, and 2 with stage 3 neuropathy. Two-point discriminatory ability appeared to be relatively well-preserved and at least 25 of the 35 individuals were able to learn to read standard or jumbo braille. Individuals with abnormalities in two-point discrimination (>5 mm) were found to have abnormalities in braille reading. Individuals with visual impairment due to diabetes should not be discouraged from undertaking braille on the basis of apparent polyneuropathy.

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