An eye exam can reveal a multitude of important clues about your overall health. Research indicates that a person’s eyes can also offer insight into their risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. While more research is needed to fully solidify this claim, the current findings are impressive.
The Link Between Eyes and Alzheimer’s Disease
A study conducted by researchers from Duke University published in The Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found a link between the amount of blood vessels in the eye and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers examined the blood vessels in the retina (light sensitive layer at the back of the eye) using an ocular coherence tomography (OCT) scan. An OCT is a state-of-the-art imaging method used to evaluate the eye for subtle changes, when early detection and treatment can be the most beneficial in preventing vision loss.
In a healthy person, the back of the eye contains a web-like structure of microscopic blood vessels. An elderly person with Alzheimer’s disease has a much smaller amount of these tiny blood vessels.
It’s believed that the same thing happens in the brain of a person with Alzheimers as the condition progresses — the density of tiny blood vessels gradually decreases.
Not only do Alzheimer’s patients have fewer blood vessels in their retinas, but there is also reduced blood flow to that area in general. Additionally, the layer of nerves that surrounds the optic nerve where it attaches to the retina was found to be thinner in those with Alzheimer’s.
While these findings aren’t conclusive, they do open doors for future research to determine an exact correlation between the blood vessels in the eye and Alzheimer’s progression.
The goal of this research is to eventually be able to detect changes in retinal blood vessels before any change in cognition for earlier treatment and possible prevention.
At Cove Eyecare, we offer OCT and many other advanced diagnostic testing methods. Our goal is to detect any and all changes in your visual and ocular health as early as possible for the best chance at preserving your precious gift of sight. For more information or to schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.
At Cove Eyecare, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.
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