Research Summary

Longitudinal assessment of retinal structure and function in diabetes with and without retinopathy

The overall aim of my work is to employ non-invasive and reiterative ophthalmic techniques – to characterize longitudinal changes in retinal integrity in patients with diabetes, with and without diabetic retinopathy (DR). The study complements the research agenda of the Host Institute wherein, a population-based study (Sankara Nethralaya Diabetic Retinopathy Epidemiology and Molecular genetics Study-SNDREAMS) was conducted between the years 2003-2010. The SNDREAMS study estimated the prevalence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in urban Chennai, South India, and also elucidated the clinical, anthropometric, biochemical and genetic risk factors associated with diabetic retinopathy. For the study pertaining to my fellowship, I utilize a combination of retinal structural and functional measures to address my research agenda. This particular work is not only timely but is much needed especially for the Indian population where diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. Despite reasonable control of the systemic risk factors, some individuals continue to develop or show worsening of DR. This 5-year longitudinal study holds promise to unravel novel ophthalmic “markers” to characterize for the first time, those patients who are at risk of visual loss. It is hoped that the study outcomes would have important contributions to patient care.