Objective: To assess corneal epithelial fragility in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and its association with retinopathy.
Setting: University-affiliated hospital in Chandigarh, India.
Subjects: Seventy patients with NIDDM selected at random and 35 age-matched healthy control subjects recruited from hospital staff and their relatives.
Main outcome measure: Corneal epithelial fragility, as measured with an esthesiometer.
Results: Mean corneal epithelial fragility values were significantly higher for the diabetic subjects without retinopathy than for the control subjects (p < 0.05). The mean epithelial fragility values for the eyes with diabetic proliferative retinopathy and those with nonproliferative retinopathy were significantly higher (by 84% and 41% respectively) than the mean value for the diabetic subjects without retinopathy (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in mean epithelial fragility values between the proliferative and nonproliferative retinopathy groups.
Conclusions: Eyes with diabetic retinopathy demonstrate increased corneal epithelial fragility.