The Eye is a Window to your Brain
You’ve probably heard the expression ‘the eye is the window to the soul’, but what about ‘the eye is a window to what’s happening in your brain’? Our very own Mojtaba Golzan from UTS Graduate School of Health is researching how eye biomarkers could indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
A growing body of research is looking to the eye as an indicator for neurological diseases, expressed through what are known as “bio-markers”.
From an embryonic stage, the human brain and eye grow and develop in a similar fashion, meaning that the eye can be studied throughout a person’s life as a kind of proxy to the brain.
Studying the eye is far easier and more cost-effective than conducting an MRI brain scan, which can only take place in a hospital at significant expense to consumers and health care service providers.
In contrast, there are numerous tools and devices for examining the eye, which can be accessed at local health facilities for a fraction of the time and cost.
Golzan and his co-researchers have identified markers in the eye’s function, structure and vascularity that could indicate the development of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.
“When we’ve looked at the retinas of patients with Alzheimer’s and patients without, we’ve found that those with Alzheimer’s have more tortured looking blood vessels, with more branches, wider blood vessels and more pulsation.”
The study will follow patients over a number of years to see how their neurological impairments develop in correlation with the eye biomarkers.
“We’ll be able to read the eye biomarkers over a number of years, gauge where they’re at in terms of their neurological pathology, and hopefully be able to say ‘OK, based on this trajectory, this person is more likely to go on and develop this type of dementia sub-type.”
Mojtaba Golzan - UTS Graduate School of Health Student
Integrating eye imaging into the primary health care network could help to improve the diagnosis process for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, potentially allowing consumers and health care professionals to predict and intervene in the progression of neurological diseases.