A new study from the United States has claimed that retinopathy, an eye condition common in people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, could be linked with mental decline.
The research, published in the journal Neurology, monitored more than 50 women over the age of 65 over a 10-year period, 39 of which received a diagnosis of retinopathy, finding that patients with retinopathy were shown to score less in tests regarding brain function, memory and abstract reasoning.
The scientists hoped that examining the back of the eye could provide useful information about brain function, and showed that damage to the retina was perhaps associated with a decline in brain function. In addition, brain scans found that further areas of damaged brain tissue in people that suffered from retinopathy. They claimed that problems with blood supply could be having a bad effect on both the eye and the brain.
Researcher Mary Haa, from the University of California, San Francisco, commented “Problems with the tiny blood vessels in the eye may be a sign that there are also problems with the blood vessels in the brain that can lead to cognitive problems.”
She added “This could be very useful if simple eye screening could give us an early indication that people might be at risk of problems with their brain health and functioning.”

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