HEALTHCARE

The eye is mirror to the heart

The University of Edinburgh is conducting a study to determine whether scanning blood vessels in the eyes can help detect heart disease

The researchers will use high definition scans of the eyes of more than 1,000 patients suspected of having heart disease. They will look for signs like changes in blood vessel width or suspicious branching, which may be linked to heart disease. Developing this type of method could avoid the need for invasive procedures such as biopsies and angiograms.

 

"We know that problems in the eye are linked to conditions such as diabetes and that abnormalities in the eye's blood vessels can also indicate vascular problems in the brain," says Dr. Tom MacGillivray, researcher at the University of Edinburgh, where he manages the image analysis laboratory at the Clinical Research Imaging Centre. "If we can identify early problems in the blood vessels in the eyes we might potentially pinpoint signs of heart disease. This could help identify people who would benefit from early lifestyle changes and preventative therapies."