U researchers identify a noninvasive eye test to detect Alzheimer's disease

Illustration of human eye

For the first time, technology designed to detect retinal changes linked to early Alzheimer’s disease has been proven effective in live animals.

The study, conducted by researchers in the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design and published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences in June, explored the use of a camera to noninvasively study the retina and detect any signs of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

Researchers were able to visualize clear patterns of changes suggesting the eventual development of the disease.

“Using currently available detection methods, you have to wait until the plaque is formed to identify Alzheimer’s disease,” says Center for Drug Design director Robert Vince, Ph.D. “This technology is a non-invasive way to identify Alzheimer’s disease before plaque is formed.”

Researchers hope the technology will be able to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s in humans as well. A Phase I clinical trial designed to test the theory began in July.  

Published on October 24, 2016

Web extra: Alzheimer's eye test

Learn more about the clinical trial, which is now recruiting healthy volunteers with no family history of Alzheimer’s, as well as people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.