In a new study, researchers found a specialist analysis of the lens in the eye can predict patients with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
They showed that measuring the level of autofluorescence in the lens of the eye can predict who will develop type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
The research was done by a team from the University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK.
Previous studies have shown that there can be a lag of up to ten years between the onset of type 2 diabetes and diagnosis, so earlier detection and timely intervention could help prevent complications.
In the study, the team used a newly developed biomicroscope which can detect advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the eye via a simple scan.
The increased level of AGEs in the body contributes to the development of many diseases, including complications of diabetes such as retinopathy (eye nerve damage) and neuropathy (general nerve damage).
The new biomicroscope focuses a beam of blue light onto the lens non-invasively and measures the autofluorescence in the reflected green light, which provides a measure of the level of AGEs.
The team examined 20 people with type 2 diabetes, 20 people with prediabetes and 20 healthy age-matched people.
These people underwent comprehensive medical and neurological assessments including measurement of lens autofluorescence by using the biomicroscope.
The team found a big increase in AGE levels in the eyes of people with type 2 diabetes.
It also showed an increased level in people with prediabetes, meaning this could be a robust way to measure those who may go on to develop diabetes in the future.
In addition, the level of AGE products was correlated with the levels of blood sugar.
The team says lens autofluorescence could be a robust marker of long-term diabetes control predicting future complication risks.
This supports the feasibility of non-invasive lens autofluorescence to screen subjects for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and prediabetes subjects.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Mitra Tavakoli, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK.
The study was presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
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