The relation between corneal autofluorescence, endothelial cell count and severity of the diabetic retinopathy

Int Ophthalmol. 1994;18(4):205-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00951798.


We measured the corneal autofluorescence in groups with different levels of diabetic retinopathy severity (72 eyes of 46 patients) and in age-matched non-diabetic controls (34 eyes of 24 controls). We also estimated the corneal endothelium cell count and pachymetry with a contact specular microscope. For the controls, mean corneal autofluorescence was 8.8 ng equivalents fluorescein/ml (SD 0.3). Results showed increased autofluorescence of the cornea in diabetic patients (mean 17.9 ng equivalents fluorescein/ml, SD 4.2), related to the duration of diabetes (P < 0.05) and to the severity of diabetic retinopathy (P < 0.0001). Corneal endothelial cell count results showed no statistically significant relation to corneal autofluorescence (P < 0.6), indicating that the increased autofluorescence cannot be attributed to a change in corneal cell density.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Cornea / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / cytology*
  • Fluorescence*
  • Fluorophotometry
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index