New eye-scanning technology can pick up early signs of type 2 diabetes. Researchers foresee that it will help expedite diagnosis and treatment.
The new technology – an eye-scanning biomicroscope – detects the level of autofluorescence in the lens of the eye. That marker is linked to levels of blood sugar and can predict who will go on to develop type 2 diabetes, wrote Mitra Tavakoli, Ph.D., University of Exeter Medical School, U.K. It’s also an early marker of prediabetes.
“Lens autofluorescence is significantly greater in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes,” Tavakoli reported.
People with prediabetes have impaired glucose tolerance, and are at high risk of developing full-blown diabetes. In addition, the lag time between diabetes onset and diagnosis can last years – putting individuals at greater risk of developing dangerous complications, including eye and kidney damage. Early treatment can help to delay or halt the damage.
“[This is] an exciting, emerging new tool for early detection and monitoring the treatment of patients. It could improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes by reducing complications,” Tavakoli concluded.