You are here

Eye tests for Alzheimer's

24th March 2006

Eye tests could be the way forward for early detection of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research, reports

Lee Goldstein and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US claim that by testing the eye and surrounding fluid for amyloid beta proteins, diagnosis of the disease can be made early.

Amyloid beta proteins are commonly found built up in the brain of Alzheimer's sufferers.

An infrared laser will be used on patients to detect any proteins in cataracts.

Those who are found to have proteins would then undergo "fluorescence ligand scanning", a test using eye drops, that would confirm if the proteins were of the amyloid beta type, therefore positively identifying Alzheimer's.

Mr Goldstein hopes that the tests will allow patients to receive treatment for Alzheimer's at an early stage before any other warning signs of the disease have emerged.

It is also hoped that the findings could speed up the development of new treatments for the condition.