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Long term influence of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus on refraction and its components: a population based twin study
  1. Niels Løgstrupa,
  2. Anne Katrin Sjølieb,
  3. Kirsten Ohm Kyvikc,
  4. Anders Greenc
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark, b Department of Ophthalmology, Aarhus Kommune Hospital and Odense University, Denmark, c Genetic Epidemiology Research Unit, Odense University, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to: Niels Løgstrup, Department of Ophthalmology, Vejle Hospital, 7100 Vejle, Denmark.


AIM To study whether refraction of the eye, or some of its components is influenced by duration of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

METHODS From the young cohort of the population based Danish Twin Register, containing 20 888 twin pairs born between 1953 and 1982, all twin pairs having one or both partners affected with IDDM were searched. Autorefraction, autokeratometry, and ultrasonic biometric measurements were carried out on 45 twin pairs: 16 monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs, 14 dizygotic twin pairs of same sex (DZss), and 15 dizygotic twin pairs of opposite sex (DZos). To obtain an estimate of the influence of duration of diabetes, the intrapair differences in duration of diabetes were correlated with intrapair differences in refraction and each of its components.

RESULTS Refraction was statistically significantly negatively correlated with duration of diabetes in the DZss group, and axial length correspondingly positively correlated. Surprisingly, refraction and axial length in the MZ group, adjusted for confounding factors, were correlated with diabetes duration in the opposite direction than in the DZss group, although not reaching statistical significance. Lens thickness was statistically significantly positively correlated with duration of diabetes in both MZ and DZ twins. Anterior chamber depth was negatively correlated with duration of diabetes in all the zygosity groups.

CONCLUSIONS Studies of relations between refraction and duration of diabetes show diverging results. In the MZ group, a tendency to reduced axial length and corresponding hyperopia with increasing duration of diabetes was found. However, in the DZ group of same sex the opposite tendency was found. Increasing lens thickness and decreasing anterior chamber depth with increasing duration of diabetes have been confirmed in this study.

  • refraction
  • ultrasonography
  • insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • twins

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