Fundus photography was utilized to determine the retinopathy level (RL) in T2DM patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and control subjects. CAIM was used to quantify microangiopathy in the bulbar conjunctiva in the same patients, and reported on a severity index (SI). The average RL for the T2DM patients in this study is 19.68 ± 9.91, which differs from control subjects (RL = 10 ± 0.0; p < 0.05). A significant difference in vasculopathy was observed in the conjunctival microcirculation in the same patients (SI = 5.81 ± 1.30) when compared with control subjects (SI = 1.33 ± 1.58; p < 0.05).
The results provide evidence that significant vasculopathy had developed in the microcirculation in the bulbar conjunctiva, though diabetic retinopathy had not developed significantly in the same patients - indicative of the presence of a time window for early intervention of T2DM before non-proliferative retinopathy develops, and the real-time availability of the conjunctival microvasculature as an in vivo platform to monitor disease progression.
To W.J., Telander D.G., Lloyd M.E. et al. Correlation of conjunctival microangiopathy with retinopathy in type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2011;47(2):131-41.