Effect of darkness on inner retinal hypoxia in diabetes

Lancet. 2002 Jun 29;359(9325):2251-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(02)09265-6.


It has been postulated that diabetic retinopathy might be initiated by hypoxia during the hours of darkness. Oscillatory potentials, which reflect inner retinal function, are reduced in diabetic patients. We tested the effect of oxygen inhalation on the amplitude of these oscillatory potentials after dark adaptation in seven patients with type 2 diabetes and eight controls. We found that the decreased oscillatory potentials induced by dark adaptation in the diabetic patients increased during oxygen inhalation to an amplitude that was not significantly different from that of the controls before oxygen. Oscillatory potentials in the controls were unaffected by oxygen. This finding strengthens support for the suggestion that diabetic patients might benefit from sleeping with night-time illumination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Darkness / adverse effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / drug therapy
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / drug effects*


  • Oxygen