Corneal confocal microscopy: a new technique for early detection of diabetic neuropathy

Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Aug;13(4):488-99. doi: 10.1007/s11892-013-0390-z.


Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) is a noninvasive method for the study of human cornea in vivo. It has increasingly been used to assess the morphology of the sub-basal corneal nerve plexus. CCM has good reproducibility and may contribute to the early diagnosis of diabetic polyneuropathy. It may also be useful to document favorable changes in nerve fiber structure early after therapeutic intervention. Corneal nerve pathology is more pronounced in patients with diabetic polyneuropathy and is associated with its clinical severity. The sensitivity and specificity of CCM for the diagnosis of polyneuropathy is moderate to high. CCM now merits further use in large longitudinal studies to provide more information on the natural history of diabetic neuropathy and effects of treatment. Moreover, there is a need for a larger normative database. Finally, technical progress is expected to enable visualization of larger corneal areas and improve nerve fiber quantification, increasing diagnostic accuracy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results