Scientists try to find easier way to detect early diabetic retinopathy

March 16, 2009

Beams of light are being used as a less invasive, less expensive approach to spot early stages of retinal damage from diabetic retinopathy by measuring blood flow in the back of the eye, according to scientists in California.

Washington, DC-Beams of light are being used as a less invasive, less expensive approach to spot early stages of retinal damage from diabetic retinopathy by measuring blood flow in the back of the eye, according to scientists in California.

"The more severe the retinopathy, the lower the blood flow to the retina," said David Huang, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.5 million people over the age of 40 suffered from this condition in 2005, and this number is expected to triple by 2050 as the number of people with diabetes continues to increase. Vision loss is preventable if retinal damage is detected early.

The scientists adapted optical coherence tomography (OCT)-normally used to take cross-sectional pictures of the retina-to detect directly the amount of blood flowing through retinal blood vessels.

Dr. Huang's research takes advantage of Interactive Science Publishing (ISP), an initiative undertaken by the Optical Society of America in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, and with the support of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. For more information on ISP, visit www. opticsinfobase.org/isp.cfm.

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