Routine eye exams could give clues about dementia later in life
Publication date: 26 March 2019
Most people get a yearly eye exam to test their vision and look for signs of degeneration and even diabetes, brain tumors and high cholesterol. But now, a new test could add another preventative screening to your exam: Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from Boston Medical Center were able to see levels of the proteins, beta-amyloid and tau, that accumulate in toxic levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s by looking into study participants’ eyes. In brains affected by Alzheimer’s disease, those proteins form into plaques and tangles and cause neuron death, leading to symptoms like memory loss. But the accumulation of those proteins starts decades before symptoms are noticeable. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, connected those protein biomarkers to mental status, marking the eyes as a potential easy, quick and cheap diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s.