Purpose: To evaluate the effect of blood glucose (BG) regulation on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) in diabetic patients by using a scanning laser polarimeter (NFA-GDx). Methods: We prospectively assessed RNFL thickness in diabetic patients and an age-matched control group. Patients without diabetic retinopathy, with BG >250 mg/dl, HbA1c >8%, fructosamine >285 mumol/l and triglyceride >200 mg/dl were included in the study. RNFL assessment was performed before and after metabolic regulation of diabetes. Symmetry, superior maximum, ellipse modulation and the average thickness variables of NFA-GDx were used for the assessment. Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon tests were used for the statistical analysis. Results: A total of 40 diabetic patients were included in the study and a repeat RNFL examination could be performed in 22 of them following regulation of BG levels. None of the GDx variables were significantly different between pre- and postregulation measurements (p > 0.05, Wilcoxon test). The mean superior maximum, ellipse modulation and average thickness values of the diabetic group were significantly lower than the control group (p < 0.05, Mann-Whitney U-test). Conclusions: Poor metabolic control of diabetes mellitus adversely affects the thickness of RNFL and this effect does not seem to be acute since it was not reversed by short-term BG regulation. This issue needs to be kept in mind when assessing glaucomatous progress in diabetic patients. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.