Corneal sensitivity is related to established measures of diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Clin Exp Optom. 2012 May;95(3):355-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2012.00729.x. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Purpose: The objective was to investigate the association between corneal sensitivity and established measures of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).

Methods: Corneal sensitivity was measured in 93 individuals with diabetes, 146 diabetic individuals without neuropathy and 61 control individuals without diabetes or neuropathy using a non-contact corneal aesthesiometer at the baseline visit of a five-year longitudinal natural history study of DPN. The correlation between corneal sensitivity and established measures of neuropathy was estimated and multi-dimensional scaling was used to represent similarities and dissimilarities between variables.

Results: The corneal sensitivity threshold was significantly correlated with a majority of established measures of DPN. Correlation coefficients ranged from -0.32 to 0.26. Using multi-dimensional scaling, non-contact corneal aesthesiometry was closer to the neuropathy disability score, diabetic neuropathy symptom score and Neuropad and most dissimilar to electrophysiological parameters and quantitative sensory testing.

Conclusion: Corneal sensitivity, although not strongly related, is associated with other functional measures of DPN and might provide a useful adjunct in identifying functional loss of small nerve fibre integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cornea / physiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology