Eye Test 'May Aid Alzheimer's Detection' in the Future

In the future, a simple eye test may be all that is needed to sort out individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

In the future, a simple eye test may be all that is needed to sort out individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia stated that observing changes to blood vessels in the retina of the eye could be used to spot the disease, according to their most recent research.

The researchers performed a small study focusing on thirteen participants with Alzheimer's disease, thirteen participants with mild cognitive impairment, and 100 healthy participants.

They photographed the participants' retina and discovered evident differences in the width of blood vessels in the eyes of individuals with Alzheimer's, in comparison to those of healthy people.

These findings were presented at the international conference of the American Alzheimer's Association in Paris this week.

The researchers stated that they believe eye tests could be used to identify people with early Alzheimer's disease, followed by brain scans to confirm the diagnosis.

Chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, Rebecca Wood, reported that “these results could lead to a simple and effective method of detecting Alzheimer's at a much earlier stage, but much more work remains to be done.”

Dr Anne Corbett, research manager at the Alzheimer's Society, stated that the narrowing of the blood vessels is also observed in the eyes of individuals who suffer from more general vascular health issues, such as heart disease.

Corbett reported, “More research in this area is now needed to see whether a distinction can be made between these two groups.”