There is an unmet medical need for early diagnosis and monitoring of diabetic neuropathy, particularly in remote locations that do not have access to specialty care. Using the eye to monitor tear neuropeptides may allow early diagnosis and prevent complications.

Competitive advantage

In type 1 diabetes, measuring the release of tear film neuropeptides, specifically substance P, from corneal nerve terminals may allow us to diagnose diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It is planned to determine if this also applies to type 2 diabetes.


Patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy are more likely to suffer from pain, foot ulceration and mortality. It may be possible to limit the progression of neuropathy and more severe consequences by identifying the conditions early and reducing risk factors more aggressively.

Successful outcomes

This project will translate the development of point-of-care assessment technique to assess the presence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It would involve developing an instrument that can be used by non-specialists in remote communities and allow for referral based on a positive outcome.

Capabilities and facilities

This work is part of a collaborative effort between the School of Optometry & Vision Science, the Prince of Wales Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre and the Prince of Wales Medical School.

Our partners

  • The Prince of Wales Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre
  • The Prince of Wales Medical School

More information

Maria Markoulli
Associate Professor and Postgraduate Research Coordinator

UNSW School of Optometry & Vision Science
+612 9065 735