According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a picture of the retina may one day help diagnose people with Alzheimer’s before they show any symptoms. A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science showed that the technique could identify Alzheimer’s in mice. The procedure will be tested in humans next.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design were able to identify Alzheimer’s from detailed color images of the retinas of mice. The retina is made from similar kinds of tissue as the brain and that tissue can be seen directly by looking into the eye. As Alzheimer’s begins, it changes the way that light is reflected off of the retina. The study showed that in mice this change starts long before any behavioral or memory changes are noticeable.