08/16/07   |   By

Senior Eye Exams May Detect Early Dementia: New Study | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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Eye exams may help predict dementia in seniors, according to research published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.  Researchers say the presence of retinopathy (damaged retinas) in older patients is a sign of early damage to blood vessels in the brain, and has been known to indicate that the patient is more likely than others to suffer a stroke.  This latest study controlled for variables other than retinopathy, then compared the cognitive status of patients.  Findings suggest that in senior patients with high blood pressure, a diagnosis of retinopathy doubled the odds that he or she would develop dementia.  No such relationship exists in patients with normal blood pressure.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the proper goal of dementia treatment is to improve symptoms or delay the progression of the disease, as a cure does not exist.  Early diagnosis therefore allows the most favorable treatment results, and points to the value of regular eye exams in promoting the overall quality of life in older patients.

Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog, we have posted a similar research finding in conjunction with senior eye exams.

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