Sugary eyes tell it all

Published: Friday 31 December 1993

SUSPECT diabetes? Get your eyes checked! A US company has developed a technique that uses eyes as a mirror for quickly and painlessly detecting diabetes, instead of the standard blood test for a patient's glucose level.

In this technique, a blue light focused on the lens of the eye enables a doctor to detect a patient's average glucose level in 30 seconds. Excess sugar -- a symptom of diabetes -- affects the make-up of the lens proteins, causing them to reflect two to three times more light than usual. The extra sugar exists because a diabetic doesn't produce enough insulin, a hormone that converts glucose into energy.

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