Could Eye Exam Identify Alzheimer’s Risk?

Did you know your eyes don’t just reflect what you are thinking, but can provide clues to your general health? Because of a close eye-brain connection, our eyes can be a gateway to what is happening in our brains. In 2003, Researchers at Harvard Medical School identified eye changes that may predict Alzheimer’s risk.

Building on this previous study, researchers used data from a large Australian retinal image study to look for biomarkers that could identify Alzheimer’s. Shaun Frost, from Australian E-Health Research Center, unveiled a small pilot study at the 2011 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). Frost and his colleagues identified a significant difference in blood vessel widths in retinas of healthy individuals than participants with Alzheimer’s disease.

If a simple eye exam replaces expensive PET and MRI scans for early detection, it will save you both time and money. Equipment capable of scanning your eyes for signs of Alzheimer’s are years in the future, and you won’t be able to have your optometrist check for Alzheimer’s anytime soon.


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