Eye Changes May Identify Parkinson's Disease
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Eye specialists from Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina have identified changes in the eye of the patients with Parkinson's disease that can be seen with non-invasive, inexpensive imaging equipment, raising hopes that this could in future become a method for the early diagnosis of the condition.

They report decreased retinal microvascular perfusion and structural alterations in the choroid compared with findings in cognitively healthy control individuals.

The researchers used optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography to compare the structure and microvasculature of the retina and choroid in eyes of 69 Parkinson's patients and 137 age and sex-matched cognitively healthy control individuals with no history of tremor or evidence of motor dysfunction. Individuals with other conditions that might affect the eye (such as diabetes, glaucoma, or other dementias) were excluded.

Results showed that the eyes of Parkinson's disease patients had 2% to 3% lower superficial capillary plexus vessel density and perfusion density, 9% to 10% higher total choroidal and choroidal luminal area, and 1% lower choroidal vascularity compared with eyes from age- and sex-matched cognitively normal controls.

"Area under the curve" (AUC) analyses suggested these differences would not be sufficient on their own to diagnose Parkinson's disease with values of 0.5 to 0.7.
"Regardless of whether these changes reflect a retinal manifestation of the pathophysiology of PD vs underlying cerebral vasculopathy (or both), these findings suggest that OCT and OCTA may be a valuable addition to the armamentarium for Parkinson's disease diagnosis," the researchers conclude. "Although these biomarkers are not yet ready for clinical practice given the likely need to use them in conjunction with other diagnostic tools, they provide a foundation for future studies to investigate the possibility."