A procedure called corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) has been found effective in predicting incipient peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online this month in Diabetes Care. The technique involves the examination of unmyelinated nerve fibers at high magnification using a laser-scanning corneal confocal microscope. Reduced corneal-nerve fiber length and corneal sensitivity was found to be associated with increased severity of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Although previous studies have demonstrated the utility of CCM in assessing diabetic neuropathies, the authors state that this is the first to confirm the value of the technique in a predictive capacity. The authors believe that CCM would be a valuable addition to current diagnostic tools, in that it is noninvasive, objective, fast, and reproducible. The current impediment to widespread adoption is the relative scarcity of the imaging equipment and related software.
Read the article abstract, with options to access the full report, here.