Study Shows Glaucoma and Other Eye Conditions May be Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers have uncovered that there is a link between Alzheimer’s disease and three eye conditions- glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration (age-related).

This could mean that there may be another way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s, a disease which can sometimes pose diagnostic difficulty. At the least, this could offer a way for doctors to understand which of their patients may be at higher risk.

The Study

This study was conducted by researchers from Washington Health Institute and the University of Washington with a random selection of 3,877 patients. The findings were published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. The lead researcher on the study was Cecilia Lee.

All participants were a minimum of 65 years old and did not have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s when they were enrolled in the study. These participants were monitored for a total of 5 years. Within this time period 792 of the patients were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Most importantly, the team found that patients with one of the above conditions had between a 40 and 50% greater chance of developing this condition.

Also important to note is that cataracts were not associated with increased risk.

Researchers emphasize that this doesn’t mean that patients who have one of these eye diseases will also get Alzheimer’s eventually. What it means is, these individuals may be at an increased risk for developing it and therefore should be closely monitored and checked periodically.

Looking Forward

This study has shown that more research is needed on the link between eye conditions and dementia. The results in this investigation were by no means subtle and show that further research is essential.

If we can detect Alzheimer’s faster, we may be able to implement preventative measures.

You can read more about this study and this interesting connection here.

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