The early signs of Parkinson’s disease can be hidden in the eyes. Is eye examination able to detect the disease in time?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disease in which a small part of the brain responsible for motor skills is deprived of adequate dopamine. The disease affects the balance and coordination of those affected. Typical symptoms are tremors and stiffness. And as researchers have now discovered, impending Parkinson’s disease can be identified years in advance, not only through symptoms, but also with the help of an eye exam.
Parkinson’s disease can be seen in the eyes up to seven years in advance
In their study, scientists from University College Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital in England looked for possible signs of Parkinson’s disease in patients’ eyes. Because in previous autopsies, a thinning of the inner nuclear layer of the retina was found in the patients. In order to search for this anomaly, clinical images of patients who were already ill and people who proved healthy were entered into the database and compared with each other using artificial intelligence.
The researchers recorded a detailed cross-section of the retina using what is known as optical coherence tomography (OCT). In this way, they obtained extremely high-resolution images that the AI could quickly scan for potential irregularities and indicators. If abnormalities are present, the doctor can react, examine them closely and act if necessary.
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Parkinson’s disease: Screening method can predict future disease risk
According to lead author Dr. Siegfried Wagner, and scientists hope that this method will soon become a pre-screening tool for people at risk of disease. Because a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, enough exercise and a little stress helps delay the onset of the disease. In this way, those affected can make changes in a timely manner. As with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease can also be recognized by eye – long before symptoms of dementia appear.
This article only contains general information on the health topic in question and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. In no way does it replace a doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, our editorial team cannot answer individual questions about clinical images.
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