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Br J Ophthalmol. 2000 May;84(5):493-8.

Ocular haemodynamics and colour contrast sensitivity in patients with type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Vienna, Austria.



There is evidence that altered ocular blood flow is involved in the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy. However, the nature of these perfusion abnormalities is still a matter of controversy. Ocular haemodynamics were characterised with two recently introduced methods.


The cross sectional study was performed in 59 patients with type 1 diabetes with a diabetes duration between 12 and 17 years and an age less than 32 years and a group of 25 age matched healthy controls. Scanning laser Doppler flowmetry and laser interferometric measurement of fundus pulsation amplitude were used to assess retinal and pulsatile choroidal blood flow, respectively. In addition, colour contrast sensitivity along the tritan axis was determined.


Fundus pulsation amplitude, but not retinal blood flow, increased with the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Retinal blood flow was influenced by plasma glucose levels (r = 0.32), whereas fundus pulsation amplitude was associated with HbA(1c) (r = 0.30). In addition, a negative correlation between the colour contrast sensitivity along the tritan axis and retinal blood flow was observed.


The present study indicates that pulsatile choroidal blood flow increases with the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Increased retinal blood flow appears to be related to loss of colour sensitivity in patents with type 1 diabetes.

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