Purpose: To assess circulatory properties of eyes with progressive stages of diabetic retinopathy.
Methods: The intraocular pressure, pulse amplitude (PA) and pulsatile ocular blood flow (POBF) were measured with a pneumatonometer (OBF Labs UK Ltd). The eyes were grouped: (a) normal control, n = 26, (b) diabetes with no observable diabetic retinopathy (NDR), n = 18, (c) mild to moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), n = 20, and (d) very severe pre-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PPDR/PDR), n = 12.
Results: The PA and POBF values were lower than normal values in the earliest stage (NDR). The POBF increased but was still below normal levels at the NPDR stage, and then increased to an above normal level in the PPDR/PDR stage of diabetic retinopathy. The PA was at normal levels in these later two stages.
Conclusion: An initial decrease in pulsatile ocular blood flow is present with the onset of diabetes where no diabetic retinopathy has yet occurred. Subsequently, the pulsatile ocular blood flow increases with the severity of the retinopathy.