Vitreous fluorophotometry was used to estimate fluorescein leakage into the posterior vitreous of 20 insulin-dependent diabetic patients with no or minimal diabetic retinopathy 60 min after intravenous administration of 14 mg · kg−1 fluorescein. The permeability coefficient (p), a measure of fluorescein penetration through the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) into the vitreous, and the diffusion coefficient (D), a measure of fluorescein dispersion within the vitreous, were obtained by fitting a mathematical model to the vitreous fluorescence scan and plasma free fluorescence curve. A permeability index (PI) was also derived by dividing the area under the fluorescence scan by the area under the plasma free fluorescence time curve. The fluorescence concentrations at discrete distances from the retina were also noted. The mean ± SD for p, D, and PI were 1.95 ± 1.03 cm · s−1 × 10−7, 1.74 ± 1.53 cm2 · s−1 × 10−5, and 2.14 ± 1.21 cm · s−l ± 10−7, respectively, and were not significantly different from values determined in normal subjects. Diabetic patients and normal subjects also had similar fluorescence measurements at corresponding distances from the retina. Quantitative indices of fluorescein leakage did not correlate with either the microaneurysm counts on fluorescein angiograms or the duration of diabetes. Vitreous fluorophotometry did not detect any abnormality of the BRB in diabetic patients with no or minimal retinopathy on fluorescein angiography.

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