Accessibility links

Breaking News

Eye Test Could Detect Early Stages of Alzheimer’s

FILE - Alzheimer's disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, rests in her house in Lisbon, Portugal, Sept.15, 2009.

A simple eye test may eventually be used detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study on laboratory mice.

Writing in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, researchers from the University of Minnesota say the discovery could pave the way for a noninvasive test for humans.

"Using currently available detection methods, you have to wait until the plaque is formed to identify Alzheimer’s disease," said Robert Vince, Ph.D., director of the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota. "This technology is a noninvasive way to identify Alzheimer’s disease before plaque is formed."

Researchers say they used a kind of camera to detect differences in the way light is reflected off the retinas of mice as they age and accumulate “building blocks” of amyloid plaque, which has long been associated with the degenerative disease.

The test now moves to humans to determine how the retinas of healthy people compare to those with Alzheimer’s.

More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's Disease, the most damaging form of dementia, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.