New research suggests 'eye tests could detect Alzheimer's'
Regular eye tests could in future be used to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's, new research suggests. Early trials of two different techniques show that a key Alzheimer's biomarker can be identified in the retina and lens of the eye.
The development of a quick, cheap, non-invasive test to detect Alzheimer's would be an important step in helping people to receive an early diagnosis, the head of science at Alzheimer's Research UK has said, after new research suggests that regular eye tests could help detection.
It is difficult to diagnose Alzheimer's disease accurately and, in many cases, by the time the symptoms have developed, damage has already been going on in the brain for a number of years.
It is too soon to determine whether these types of tests will be useful for diagnosis of dementia and we would need to see the results of larger trials before drawing any firmer conclusions.
Regular eye tests could "complement" existing procedures as an initial screen in diagnosing Alzheimer's, the Australian science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has said. Shaun Frost, who led one of the studies, added:
If further research shows that our initial findings are correct, it could potentially be delivered as part of an individual's regular eye check-up.
The high resolution level of our images could also allow accurate monitoring of individual retinal plaques as a possible method to follow progression and response to therapy.
Regular eye tests could in future be used to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's, new research suggests.
Early trials of two different techniques show that a key Alzheimer's biomarker can be identified in the retina and lens of the eye.
Both methods were able to distinguish between probable Alzheimer's patients and healthy volunteers with a high level of accuracy.
Although the research is still at an early stage, further work could see such tests used as a first step in identifying individuals with Alzheimer's. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's is essential to developing effective treatments that do more than alleviate the condition's symptoms.