Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the retinal blood flow velocities of patients with diabetes and healthy control subjects. We used a novel device offering a noninvasive diagnostic of retinal function. Methods: Flow velocities in retinal arterioles and venules were quantitatively analyzed by retinal function imager scanning in 58 eyes of 42 patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and 51 eyes of 32 normal subjects. Group differences were assessed by the mixed-model effect. Results: Average velocity in arterial compartments (in mm/s) was 3.74 +/- 1.09 for the diabetic group and 4.19 +/- 0.99 for the control subjects. The average velocity of all segments, taking associated heart rate and individual segment widths into account, was 17% slower in the diabetic group (P < 0.0001). In both groups, average venous compartment velocity was lower than the arterial velocity (2.61 +/- 0.65 for the diabetic group; 3.03 +/- 0.59 for the control subjects). Individual vein velocities, taking heart rate and segment widths into account, was 17% slower, on average, in the diabetic group (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Our measurement showed significantly decreased flow velocities in the retinal arterioles and venules of patients with diabetes compared with healthy control subjects, supporting the view of abnormal vessel function in eyes with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. © The Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.
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