12 October 2005

Eyes May Predict Stroke

A new Australian study says that a simple eye test might predict the likelihood of stroke. The lead author revealed that people with retinopathy, a condition wherein the blood vessels of the retina become weak or damaged due to another condition like diabetes or hypertension, have an increased chance of stroke.
People who have tiny lesions on the back of the eye are two to three times more likely to suffer a stroke or stroke-related death, independent of other risk factors, according to the research, published in Neurology journal this week.

"We found these lesions are present in 10 percent of people over 50," Professor Mitchell said. "They had about a 2- or 3-fold risk of stroke or stroke-related death within the next seven years."

The patterns in the blood vessels on the retina, which were examined from photographs, could be mirrored by vessel changes in the brain that were linked to stroke, he said. But not everyone with the lesions would go on to have a stroke. [Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 11 2005]

The study provides a clue to possible stroke attacks. In the Philippines, nearly 1.5 million people suffered from stroke in 2004. The consequences of stroke vary from benign to debilitating. Left unattended, it can be fatal.

The eye test mentioned here is called retinal imaging. Ophthalmologists or eye specialists are familiar with this test.
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