Did you know that certain vision changes can indicate early-stage Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s is the #3 killer in the United States, right behind cancer and heart disease. Scientists are researching early detection. Catching this disease in its earliest stages opens up potential treatments, before significant brain damage sets in. Treatments for early Alzheimer’s are also being heavily researched. The retina develops from neural tissue, and the entire eye reflects the health of an individual. Therefore, non-invasive screening tools such as an eye exam could feed clinical trials and lead to effective treatments.
Alzheimer’s is pervasive, affecting 5.2 million Americans. An inexpensive and broadly applied screening tool would flag large numbers of early-stage patients. Eye doctors recommend regular dilated eye exams, every 1 to 2 years. Since ophthalmologists and optometrists are performing eye exams anyway, the results could be a useful screening tool.
Poor Vision and Cognitive Impairment
An investigation published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those with distance vision worse than 20/40 were three times more likely to have cognitive impairment.1 Near-vision problems were less of an indicator.
Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s
Another study summarized evidence that the eyes can contain biomarkers indicating Alzheimer’s disease.2 The paper described how the eyes are an extension of the central nervous system. Thus, they could provide insight into the patient’s neurological state.
Macular Degeneration and Alzheimer’s
Macular Degeneration is a common but devastating eye disease in seniors. The indicator of Macular Degeneration is pieces of fatty drusen in the macula. These out-of-place lipids cause significant damage to the macula, leading to vision loss. Studies have found Amyloid β in the drusen of some ARMD patients.3 Scientists were also able to find Amyloid β in the lens using a florescent ointment and a harmless laser.4 They pinpointed the Alzheimer’s patients with very high accuracy.
What is good for the eyes is often also good for the brain. At Natural Eye Care, we recommend a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition, and targeted nutrients to keep the eyes — and brain — healthy including lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, n-acetyl-cysteine, bilberry and more (see recommended formulas such as as our Advanced Eye and Vision Support Formula).
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Source: Daily Dose of Eye Care