Retinal and renal microcirculations are known to share similar physiological changes during early diabetes because of abnormal glucose metabolism and other processes. The retinal vasculature therefore may serve as potential biomarker for the early identification of those at high risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in diabetes.
Data from 1925 patients (aged 49.0 ± 10.3) with type 2 diabetes were analyzed. Various retinal image measurements (RIMs) were collected using a validated fully automated computer program. Multiple logistic regressions were performed to investigate the correlation between RIMs and CKD.
In logistic regression adjusting for multiple variables, wider venular calibers in the central and middle zones and narrower arteriolar caliber in the central zone were associated with CKD (p < 0.001, p = 0.020, and p < 0.001, respectively). Increased arteriolar tortuosity was associated with CKD (p = 0.035). Multiple image texture measurements were also significantly associated with CKD.
Renal dysfunction in type 2 diabetes was associated with various retinal image measurements. These non-invasive image measurements may serve as potential biomarkers for the early identification and monitoring of individuals at high risk of CKD in the course of diabetes.