An eye exam may predict the likelihood of having a heart attack, according to a new research. Researchers have discovered that the retina’s patterns of blood vessels may be able to detect people who are at risk for heart disease. Every illness may have a distinct retinal variation profile, according to researchers. Researchers suggest that every disease may have a distinct profile of retinal diversity. Per new research, a basic non-invasive eye exam may be useful in predicting the risk of a heart attack when paired with other data.
With the use of retinal blood vessel patterns and conventional clinical criteria, researchers were able to better determine participants’ risk of an attack compared to existing models that just contained demographic data. Using 500,000 people’s medical and lifestyle information from the UK Biobank, they calculated a metric called fractal dimension, which they will present at the European Society of Human Genealogy annual meeting in Vienna this Monday.
Identifying MI risks
Once the retinal images had been collected, the researchers used a model to combine them with other variables like age, gender, systolic blood pressure, BMI, and smoking habits. They then studied database participants who had suffered a heart attack, also identified as a myocardial infarction (MI).
Researchers found that the model was able to more effectively categorize persons with low or high MI risk in the UK Biobank comparing to previous models that just contain demographic data. This was a striking finding. The model improved considerably more when we included a score based on a person’s genetic predisposition to getting MI. The researchers stated their study indicated that fractal dimension as well as myocardial infarction have a genetic foundation.
A heart attack occurs on average at age 60, and their algorithm was able to forecast it more than five years in advance of the event. People at risk may be able to be identified with only a basic eye check in the future, the researchers expect.