Published: 14 December, 2021 | Volume 5 - Issue 2 | Pages: 029-038
Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common causes of preventable blindness. Patients with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) develop not only DR but also corneal endothelial damage leading to anatomical and physiological changes in cornea. Central corneal thickness (CCT) is a key parameter of refractive surgery and Intraocular pressure (IOP) estimation. The role of CCT and higher glycemic index in DR needs to be researched upon.
Objectives: To identify the corneal endothelial morphology in patients with type 2 DM, to measure the Central Corneal thickness (CCT) in patients with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, to assess the relationship of CCT with HbA1C levels in the study group and to correlate the CCT with the severity of Diabetic retinopathy in the study group.
Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted between January 2018 and June 2019 in Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bangalore. The study included 100 subjects with type 2 DM for 5 years or more. Patients with comorbidities that may affect the severity of DR or alter CCT and other corneal endothelial parameters such as glaucoma, previous ocular surgery or trauma, corneal degenerations and dystrophies, chronic kidney disease and Hypertension were excluded. DR was assessed by dilated fundoscopy, fundus photography and optical coherence imaging of the macula and graded as per the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) classification. CCT and other corneal endothelial parameters were measured through specular microscopy. Relevant blood investigations including blood sugar levels were done for all patients.
Statistical analysis: Relationship between CCT and grades of DR and HbA1c levels were established using the Chi-Square test. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results: The mean CCT in patients with no diabetic retinopathy, very mild and mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), moderate NPDR, severe and very severe NPDR and PDR was 526.62 ± 8.084 μm, 542.07 ± 8.713 μm, 562.16 ± 8.255 μm, 582.79 ± 7.368 μm and 610.43 ± 18.256 μm respectively. Analysis of the relationship between CCT and severity of DR showed a statistically significant positive correlation between the two parameters (Pearson r = 0.933, p = 0.001). Beyond this, a correlation was found between all the corneal endothelial parameters and severity of DR. Multivariate analysis showed that advanced DR was positively correlated with CV (r = 0.917) and CCT (r = 0.933); while it was negatively correlated with ECD (r = -0.872) and Hex (r = -0.811).
A statistically significant correlation was also found between CCT and HbA1c. Also increasing age, duration of DM and higher glycemic index were positively correlated with severity of DR.
Conclusion: This study, by demonstrating a strong correlation between the central corneal thickness to the severity of DR and HbA1c levels emphasizes the importance of evaluation of corneal endothelial morphology in the early screening and diagnosis of microvascular complications of DM.
Diabetic retinopathy; Central corneal thickness; HbA1c; Corneal endothelial morphology; Diabetes mellitus