Retinal Microvascular Dysfunction Occurs Early and Similarly in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease and Primary-Open Angle Glaucoma Patients
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Purpose: To assess the similarities and differences in retinal microvascular function between mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, early-stage primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) patients and healthy controls. Methods: Retinal vessel reactivity to flickering light was assessed in 10 AD, 19 POAG and 20 healthy age matched control patients by means of dynamic retinal vessel analysis (DVA, IMEDOS, GmbH, Jena, Germany) according to an established protocol. All patients additionally underwent BP measurements and blood analysis for glucose and lipid metabolism markers. Results: AD and POAG patients demonstrated comparable alterations in retinal artery reactivity, in the form of an increased arterial reaction time (RT) to flicker light on the final flicker cycle (p = 0.009), which was not replicated by healthy controls (p > 0.05). Furthermore, the sequential changes in RT on progressing from flicker one to flicker three were found to differ between healthy controls and the two disease groups (p = 0.001). Conclusion: AD and POAG patients demonstrate comparable signs of vascular dysfunction in their retinal arteries at the early stages of their disease process. This provides support for the concept of a common underlying vascular aetiology in these two neurodegenerative diseases.
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