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July 1995

Diabetic Papillopathy: Patient Characteristics and Fundus Findings

Author Affiliations

From the Retina (Drs Regillo, Brown, Byrnes, Benson, and Tasman) and Neuro-ophthalmology (Drs Savino and Sergott) Services, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa. Dr Regillo is now with the Ophthalmology Department, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, Calif, and Dr Byrnes is now with the Department of Ophthalmology, National Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(7):889-895. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100070063026

Objective:  To better define the spectrum of patient characteristics and fundus findings in patients with a presumably unique clinical entity referred to as diabetic papillopathy.

Design:  Retrospective series.

Setting:  A university-based referral practice.

Methods:  We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all diabetic patients with benign, transient disc swelling who were evaluated at our institution from 1986 to 1992. Data pertaining to patient demographics, visual acuity and symptoms, disc and retinal findings, ancillary test results, and clinical course were collected.

Results:  Twenty-seven eyes of 19 patients met the study definition of diabetic papillopathy. Patients were generally older (mean age, 50 years) and of a broader age range (19 to 79 years) compared with those in prior reports. Two thirds of patients had type II diabetes. Disc swelling was consistently hyperemic and, on average, resolved within 3.7 months. Macular edema was a frequent associated finding (70% of eyes) as was significant capillary nonperfusion (52% of tested eyes). Only four eyes (15%) had final visual acuities of less than 20/50 and each had prominent macular edema. Cup-disc ratio analysis of uninvolved eyes revealed a significantly small physiologic cup.

Conclusions:  The clinical profile of diabetic papillopathy can be expanded to include people who are older or have type II diabetes and that affected eyes commonly have macular edema or retinal vascular changes that can adversely affect the visual outcome. Last, a small physiologic cup may represent an anatomic predisposition to the condition.