After analyzing correlations between objective optical quality parameters and patients with diabetes but without diabetic retinopathy (DR), researchers in China have found that the optical quality of the diabetic eye was decreased, even though overt retinopathy had not yet developed and the patients had comparable best-corrected visual acuity and normal fundus with the control group.

The pilot study assessed 27 diabetes patients without DR and a control group of 27 age- and sex-matched volunteers. Compared with the control group, the diabetes sufferers showed lower values in all optical quality parameters (i.e., modulation transfer function cutoff, Strehl ratio, Optical Quality Analysis System  values and objective scatter index), which suggest the possibility of greater higher-order aberrations in diabetic eyes.

Researchers found no associations between the optical quality parameters obtained from the Optical Quality Analysis System and age or the duration of diabetes in affected participants but they did find moderate associations between all parameters and age in the control group. They suggest the findings demonstrate that diabetes might have an impact on optical quality measurement and even weaken the associations of optical quality parameters with age.

The study concluded that the Optical Quality Analysis System could be a useful test for screening and monitoring the visual function of diabetes patients. The instrument’s results have helped provide evidence for the degree of visual impairment in patients before onset of retinopathy.

Liu J, Wang X, Wang J, Guo Haike. Optical quality and intraocular scattering in the diabetic eye without diabetic retinopathy. Optom Vis Sci. March 21, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].