Video fluorescein angiography was performed in 124 patients between 18 and 65 years of age (mean 35.0, SD 12.3 years) with juvenile-onset, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (type 1). The arm-retina time (ART) and the retinal arteriovenous passage time (AVP) were measured by means of a picture analysis system to quantify the retinal microcirculation. Glucose metabolism was assessed by the blood level of haemoglobin A1c. The ART 11.5, SD 3.4 s) was similar to that in normal persons (11.2, SD 3.3 s), while the AVP was significantly longer in the diabetics (AVP = 2.35, SD 0.87 s) than in normal persons (AVP = 1.45, SD 0.40 s). The patients with severe diabetic retinopathy showed the most impressive change in AVP. The diabetics with good glycaemic control, that is, with glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) less than or equal to 8.0 g/dl, had a shorter AVP than patients with bad glycaemic control (HbA1c greater than or equal to 9.5 g/dl). The group with a history of diabetes for less than five years showed circulation parameters similar to those of normal persons. The AVP in this group was significantly shorter than in groups with a history of diabetes for five or more years.
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