OBJECTIVE To assess the diagnostic utility of corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and the risk factors for corneal nerve loss. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A total of 490 participants, including 72 healthy control subjects, 149 with type 1 diabetes, and 269 with type 2 diabetes, underwent detailed assessment of peripheral neuropathy and CCM in relation to risk factors. RESULTS Corneal nerve fiber density (CNFD) (P <0.0001 and P <0.0001), corneal nerve fiber branch density (CNBD) (P <0.0001 and P <0.0001), and corneal nerve fiber length (CNFL) (P <0.0001 and P = 0.02) were significantly lower in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes compared with control subjects. CNFD (P <0.0001), CNBD (P <0.0001), and CNFL (P <0.0001) were lower in type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis for the diagnosis of DPN demonstrated a good area under the curve for CNFD of 0.81, CNBD of 0.74, and CNFL of 0.73. Multivariable regression analysis showed a significant association among reduced CNFL with age (beta = -0.27, P = 0.007), HbA(1c) (beta = -1.1; P = 0.01), and weight (beta = -0.14; P = 0.03) in patients with type 2 diabetes and with duration of diabetes (beta = -0.13; P = 0.02), LDL cholesterol (beta = 1.8, P = 0.04), and triglycerides (beta = -2.87; P = 0.009) in patients with type 1 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS CCM identifies more severe corneal nerve loss in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes and shows good diagnostic accuracy for DPN. Furthermore, the risk factors for a reduction in corneal nerve fiber length differ between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
- FIBER DAMAGE