The assessment of autofluorescence of the crystalline lens in diabetic patients and healthy controls: can it be used as a screening test?

Clin Ophthalmol. 2018 Jun 27;12:1163-1170. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S164960. eCollection 2018.


Background: Our purpose was to demonstrate if measuring lens autofluorescence (AF) with a scanning confocal biomicroscope may be used to identify subjects with undiagnosed type II diabetes mellitus (DM), and hence, for it to be used as a marker for the severity of diabetic retinopathy in diabetic patients.

Patients and methods: In this cross-sectional, comparative study, lens AF was measured with scanning confocal lens fluorescence biomicroscope in diabetic and healthy groups. Full ophthalmological examination was performed. Blood tests of fasting plasma glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin were also analyzed. The correlation between lens AF results and blood tests was evaluated in both groups. The cutoff value for the diagnosis of DM using lens AF was investigated.

Results: The study included 191 subjects with a mean age of 52.09±6.75 years. One hundred and seven (56.0%) subjects were female, and 84 (44.0%) were male. Eighty-two (42.9%) patients had type II DM, and 109 (57.1%) subjects self-reported as normal. The fluorescence ratio (FR) values ranged from 0.09 to 0.46 (0.23±0.06) in the total group. Mean FR measurements of diabetic subjects were significantly higher (0.27±0.06) than those without DM (0.20±0.05), (p=0.001). A statistically significant correlation was found between glycosylated hemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose, and FR. The cutoff point for the FR according to the presence of DM was found to be 0.24 and above (p=0.001), with a sensitivity of 71.95% and a specificity of 80.73%.

Conclusion: Measuring AF of human lens as an indirect evidence of increased advanced glycaton end products may helpful in detecting impaired glucose metabolism. Our results show highly significant correlation between possibility of DM and FR.

Keywords: HgA1c; diabetes; diabetic retinopathy; fasting plasma glucose; lens autofluorescence; screening.