Flavoprotein autofluorescence may be early indicator of eye disease, say researchers

July 16, 2008

A new device used to evaluate the eye for disease may warn physicians earlier than before, especially when linked to diabetes.

Ann Arbor, MI-A new device used to evaluate the eye for disease may warn physicians earlier than before, especially when linked to diabetes. The device captures images of the eye that reveal metabolic stress and tissue damage, even before the first signs of the disease appear, said a team of researchers at the University of Michigan.

Flavoprotein autofluorescence (FA)-thought to be a reliable indicator of eye trouble-is measured using this technology.

"The concept behind measuring FA in the retina is to determine whether there's a metabolic dysfunction in the retinal tissue," explained lead researcher Victor M. Elner, MD, PhD, a professor in the university's Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

People with diabetes had significantly higher levels of FA compared with nondiabetics, the researchers report. "The diabetics demonstrated consistently abnormal metabolism when compared with the control individuals without disease," Dr. Elner said.