Aim To evaluate retinal sensitivity (RS) in subjects with diabetes in a population-based study and to elucidate associated risk factors for abnormal RS.
Methods A subset of 357 subjects from Sankara Nethralaya Diabetic Retinopathy Epidemiology and Molecular Genetics Study-II was included in this study. All subjects underwent detailed ophthalmic evaluation including microperimetry and spectral domain optical coherence tomography.
Results The prevalence of abnormal mean retinal sensitivity (MRS) was 89.1%. MRS was significantly reduced in subjects with diabetes but no retinopathy when compared with non-diabetic subjects. MRS was reduced in moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (DR) and macular oedema (ME) at 8° (p=0.04, p=0.01, respectively) and in ME at 10° (p=0.009) and 12° (p=0.036) compared with no DR. Significant negative correlation was found between MRS and best corrected visual acuity, duration of diabetes, glycosylated haemoglobin and central foveal thickness. Increased retinal thickness remained a significant risk factor (OR, 1.02; p=0.044) for abnormal MRS. Altered inner retinal layers and foveal contour were associated with reduced MRS among subjects with DR and presence of epiretinal membrane, altered foveal contour and altered retinal pigment epithelium were associated with reduced MRS.
Conclusions Reduced RS in those subjects with diabetes but no retinopathy suggests the early neuronal damage in type 2 diabetes mellitus.