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Photographs of the bulbar conjunctiva of 56 diabetic and 59 nondiabetic control patients were analyzed by newly developed morphometric techniques. When compared to controls diabetic patients showed: (1) decreased vascularity in the capillary bed but an increased vascularity of the venules with a volume shift in the distribution of blood into the venules; (2) an increased capillary pressure but comparable flow and, therefore, increased capillary resistance; (3) an increase in the range of background density suggesting either focal thickening of the interstitial tissue or variable amounts of fluid within the tissue; (4) a decrease in the percentage of the area occupied by microvessels; and (5) an increase in diffusion distance to all vessels.
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© 1981 American Academy of Ophthalmology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.