The study researchers found, patients who had retinopathy orvascular diseases that damage the retina of the eye light, also at risk of vascular damage in the brain that can affect thinking andmemory skills. The study was published online on March 14, 2012,the American Academy of Neurology.
“The problem with small blood vessels in the eye may be a sign that there are problems with blood vessels in the brain that can causecognitive impairment,” says study author Mary Haan, Dr PH, MPH,of the University of California, San Francisco.
“These findings could be very useful. Because by doing a simplescreening of the eye we can give an early indication that a personmay have problems with their health and brain function,” said Hann.
In research yany lasted for 10 years, researchers enrolled 511women with a mean age of 69 years. Each year, the female participants follow a series of tests of cognitive and thought processes. For four years, researchers conducted eye healthexamination, and during eight years of the participants also underwent a brain scan.
The results showed, as many as 39 women (7.6 percent) hadretinopathy. Women with retinopathy on average have lower scoreswhile undergoing cognitive tests than women who did not haveretinopathy. In fact, female participants with retinopathy also havemore areas of damage to small blood vessels in their brains.
They are also at risk of ischemic lesions by 47 percent in the bloodvessels of the brain as a whole and 68 percent of the lesions in the parietal lobes. Lesions are often associated with vascular diseaseand stroke, are believed to be caused by hypertension.