Visual function and retinal thickness in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Lakshmi Bodduluri, Stephen J. Dain, Shihab Hameed, Charles F. Verge, Mei Ying Boon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical Relevance: The possibility that changes in blue–yellow visual thresholds and some retinal thickness measures in children with diabetes mellitus may be observed before any visible fundus changes points to the possibility of these measures being a useful predictor that the risks of diabetic retinopathy are higher in some children than in others. Introduction: Previous studies showed mixed results on chromatic and achromatic contrast sensitivity early in the course of diabetes mellitus, and the findings of these studies may have been influenced by a lack of experimental sensitivity to visual deficits, a bias towards tritan-like errors or the cognitive demands of the tests and variations in sample composition. The purpose of this study was to evaluate colour and contrast thresholds and retinal thickness in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus compared with age-matched controls. Methods: A prospective case–control study was carried out on 9–14-year-old children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (49 cases) and age matched controls (49) in which isoluminant red–green and blue–yellow and achromatic luminance contrast thresholds were measured. Fundus photography was used to grade diabetic retinopathy. Retinal thickness parameters were measured using optical coherence tomography. Data on the duration of diabetes mellitus, glycaemic control (HbA1c), blood glucose level, body mass index, blood pressure and blood oxygenation at the time of testing were obtained. Results: The cases mostly had poorly controlled diabetes, HbA1c 8.6% (6.4–12.8%), for an average (range) duration of 5 (0.4–12) years. The cases had significantly higher blue–yellow thresholds (p = 0.02) and greater total retinal and inner retinal thickness (p < 0.05) than controls. No cases had diabetic retinopathy. Within the cases, poorer visual function and systemic health measures were associated with thinner retinal structures and greater global loss volume percentage in the ganglion cell complex. Conclusion: Blue–yellow thresholds of cases were raised compared to normal. Within the cases, higher luminance contrast thresholds were also associated with, mostly, ganglion cell complex reductions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


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