Study shows that people who have minimal damage on their retina's blood vessels due to vascular diseases are more prone to memory decline. According to researchers, the condition of blood vessels found in the eye are important factors in determining the functionality of the brain.
It has been known that retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and high blood pressure, which causes blindness among adults in the United States and to another degree, has also been linked to a higher risk of suffering from memory loss and thinking decline.
To determine whether retinopathy can be a useful tool for detecting early signs of vascular-related mental issues, researchers examined a large study which included over 500 elderly women who annually underwent eye examination, brain scans and mental testing for 10 years to evaluate memory and cognitive skills.
Overall, only 39 women (7.6%) were found to have retinopathy. Compared to those who didn't have the disease, these women had lower average test scores on memory and thinking skills. Also, brain scan results revealed more proof of blood vessel damage within the brain.
These findings suggest that detecting early signs of retinopathy may prove to be an important indicator for vascular-mental related memory and thinking declines, according to researcher Mary Haan, Ph.D. of the University of California, San Francisco.