Study finds retinal differences in patients with schizophrenia

A UK study linking ophthalmic data collected at Moorfields Eye Hospital with hospital admission data has examined retinal changes

A close-up view of a woman’s green eye
Pixabay/Engin Akyurt

New research published in JAMA Psychiatry has explored retinal differences in patients with schizophrenia.

The study found that individuals with schizophrenia had reduced thickness of the inner retina, which may indicate heightened neurodegeneration.

The results involve analysis of the AlzEye study group, which links ophthalmic data from Moorfields Eye Hospital with hospital admission data across England.

The authors noted that differences in retinal vasculature were mostly secondary to the higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in patients with schizophrenia.

Among those with schizophrenia, around three in four patients had diabetes and eight in ten had hypertension. In comparison, only half of those without schizophrenia had hypertension and one in four had diabetes.

The AlzEye study is a retrospective cohort of 154 830 patients aged 40 years and older.

Writing in BMJ Open in 2022, scientists highlighted that AlzEye combines the world’s largest single institution retinal imaging database with nationally collected systemic data.

“Retinal signatures of systemic disease (‘oculomics’) are increasingly being revealed through a combination of high-resolution ophthalmic imaging and sophisticated modelling strategies,” they shared.