I just read a very cool article that I just had to share! Researchers at the Queensland Univerity of Technology in Australia have concluded that assessing the size and shape of nerve fibers in the cornea can reflect the extent of diabetic neuropathy elsewhere in the body...most commonly the feet. In my podiatry practice in Houston, TX , I assess diabetic neuropathy using an Epidermal Nerve Fiber biopsy to objectively demonstrate the extent of the neuropathy and response to treatment.
The eye is transparent and can provide a clearer picture of the health of the nerves. An initial study showed that as diabetic neuropathy symptoms increased, the corneal nerve fiber density, nerve fiber length and nerve branch density all decreased significantly. It also showed regeneration after effective treatment.
Studying the effect of the corneal nerves can give an earlier detection of peripheral neuropathy, before symptoms start. this can motivate the diabetic patient to get their diabetes under control and halt the progression. It also can be an objective sign of improvement as new treatments for diabetic neuropahty are tested and implemented.