Can tracking vision lead to better diabetes outcomes?

Two researchers are investigating if a new invention can help diabetes patients, as Colleen Bell reports.

The new machine accurately maps the visual field of the retina. It also tests the nerve connections between the eye and brain.

It was invented by a group led by Professor Ted Maddess from the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR). The group, with major contributions from Dr Faran Sabeti and Dr Corinne Carle, both from JCSMR, studies a range of eye diseases.

They are working with Professor Chris Nolan, Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes for ACT Health and Professor of Endocrinology at the ANU Medical School, who researches all forms of diabetes.

They are exploring whether the new device, nicknamed nCFA, can be used for early detection of damage caused by diabetes for people at risk, and also for effective management of the disease by closely tracking its effects.

The technology can detect two complications of diabetes related to eyesight: retinal neuropathy or damage to the retina – which is a neural tissue, an outgrowth of the brain – and retinopathy, where abnormal blood vessels of the retina cause a loss of vision.