We know that dementia is growing in the United States. And we also know that there is currently no cure for it. But there may just be some ways to spot dementia early on and at least slow its progress.
One of those ways is by having people get routine eye tests. According to new research, dementia could be spotted years before its onset.
A group of people aged 40-69 were given memory, reasoning, and reaction time tests.
“Researchers then measured the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer and found a strong correlation between poor performance on the tests and a thin RNFL.”
There is also a protein called amyloid protein that is found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This protein can also assemble in the retina, so checking for amyloid build up in the retina may indicate signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
That’s why routine eye tests in older ages are extremely important, as they can help identify the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
“‘Further work is required to see whether thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer is predictive of cognitive decline and dementia, to assess better whether nerve cell loss in the eye could be a potential early marker of the condition,” Ridley concluded.’
Though it may feel like a long shot, early detection of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is so important because it allows interventions to be made before permanent damage is done to the brain. It also improves access to medical and support services, allows a person to get their legal and financial affairs in order, and may reduce healthcare costs by delaying placement in an assisted living home.
So along with keeping up with cognitive and mental ability tests, routine eye tests should be added to the list as well.