The effect of strict glycmic control on retinal volumetric blood flow rate (Q) was investigated in 13 insulin-dependent diabetic patients with laser Doppler velocimetry and monochromatic fundus photography. Strict glycemic control was achieved by glucose monitoring and four daily insulin injections. Q was determined in a major retinal vein at baseline and then 5days, 2 mo, and 6 mo after the institution of strict control. Level of retinopathy was assessed from stereocolor fundus photographs taken at baseline and 6 mo. After 6 mo of strict diabetic control, five eyes demonstrated progression (P) by one or more retinopathy levels, and eight eyes showed no progression (NP). At 5 days, there was a significant decrease in Q of 1.4 ± 0.9 μU/min (P < 0.005) in NP eyes and a nonsignificant increase in Q of 1.2 ± 1.7 μU/min in P eyes. Changes in Q from baseline observed at 5 days were strongly correlated with changes in retinopathy level at 6 mo (r = 0.79, P <0.005). No significant changes in Q from baseline were observed at 2 and 6 mo. A lack of decrease in Q at 5 days was associated with the progression of retinopathy that occurs in some patients after the institution of strict glycemic control and may serve as a predictor for progression of retinopathy.

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