Not blood sugar- Now eye lens analysis shall predict future risk of diabetes
Blood sugar measurement is the hallmark of the diagnosis of Diabetes. While symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly and are often the reason for checking blood sugar levels, other types of diabetes and prediabetes come on more gradually or may not be evident but nevertheless measurement of fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels along with HbA1C are a must for the diagnosis of diabetes.
Now new research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain has found out that measuring the level of autofluorescence in the eye lens can predict the future development of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes -- also known as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), a condition that often leads to the development of type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study.
In the study researches by using newly developed biomicroscope measured and found a significant increase in advanced glycation end-products levels in the eyes of people with type 2 diabetes. It also showed an increased level in people with prediabetes, meaning this could be a robust way to measure those who may go on to develop diabetes in future. The increased level of advanced glycation end-products in the body contributes to the development of many diseases, including complications of diabetes such as retinopathy and neuropathy.
Mitra Tavakoli, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK, presented this early pilot study at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) held in Barcelona, Spain from 16-20 September 2019.
According to the study, specialist analysis of the lens in the eye can predict patients with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance.
Previous studies have shown that earlier detection and timely intervention can help to prevent complications as diabetes can go undetected for as long as 10 years.
A newly developed biomicroscope was used in the study that can detect advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the eye via a simple scan. The increased level of AGEs in the body contributes to the development of many diseases, including complications of diabetes such as retinopathy (eye nerve damage) and neuropathy (general nerve damage).
The new biomicroscope focuses a beam of blue light onto the lens non-invasively and measures the autofluorescence in the reflected green light, which provides a measure of the level of AGEs.
In this pilot study, 20 people with type 2 diabetes, 20 people with prediabetes and 20 healthy age-matched control subjects underwent comprehensive medical and neurological assessments including measurement of lens autofluorescence by using the biomicroscope.
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Key findings include:
- There was a significant increase in AGE levels in the eyes of people with type 2 diabetes.
- It also showed an increased level in people with prediabetes, meaning this could be a robust way to measure those who may go on to develop diabetes in the future.
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Dr Tavakoli says: "The results of this preliminary study showed the lens autofluorescence is significantly greater in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The level of AGE products were correlated with the levels of blood sugar."
"Lens autofluorescence could be a robust marker of long-term diabetes control predicting future complication risks. This supports the feasibility of non-invasive lens autofluorescence to screen subjects for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and prediabetes subjects. Although this is a pilot study, is an exciting emerging new tool for early detection and monitoring the treatment of patients. It could improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes by reducing complications. However larger and long-term clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings," she concluded.