Loss of blood vessels in retina could indicate Alzheimer’s disease

New research has found differences in the retinas of patients with Alzheimer’s disease when compared to healthy study participants

Brain scan

A new study of more than 200 patients has revealed ocular differences in patients with Alzheimer’s disease using optical coherence tomography angiography.

Researchers reported in Ophthalmology Retina that a web of blood vessels at the back of the eye was less dense in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This difference remained significant after controlling for factors such as age, sex and level of education.

Study author, Dr Sharon Fekrat, from the Duke Eye Center, said that the ultimate goal of the research was to detect Alzheimer’s disease early before symptoms of memory loss are evident.

“It’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition,” she said.

Image credit: Deradrian