Research to explore link between diabetic eye disease and COVID-19 risk

Eye research charity, Fight for Sight, and Diabetes UK collaborate to investigate COVID-19 complications in diabetic retinopathy patients

lab testing
A new research partnership between Fight for Sight and Diabetes UK will investigate whether patients previously diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy have more severe COVID-19 outcomes.

The project could open up new ways of predicting an individual’s COVID-19 risk through non-invasive imaging of the eye.

Dr Miguel Bernabeu, who is coordinating the study at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, shared that the study will also explore whether damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes can predict virus tissue invasion in other vital organs, including the brain and kidney.

Assistant director of research at Diabetes UK, Anna Morris, highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a particularly difficult time for people living with diabetes.

“That’s why it’s crucial that we identify who is at higher risk of more severe outcomes from infection,” she said.

“We hope that Dr Bernabeu’s research will give us an easier way to identify people at high risk and help to take steps to protect and treat them in the future,” Ms Morris added.