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To identify and summarize key research that bridges Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) with glaucoma and retinal disorders. In doing so, the role of the ophthalmologist will be highlighted as a vital asset in early detection of AD as well as in the management of related visual disturbances. Additionally, relevant epidemiology will be discussed.
Relevant articles analyzed were chosen based on strength of study methodology and date of publication along with our coincidental findings.
There is a significant link between AD and ARMD,diabetic retinopathy and POAG. OCT of foveal avascular zone with preclinical AD is determined by β-amyloid biomarkers. AD increases risk of severe POAG. POAG and AD,linked by epidemiologic evidence,may be an due to a neurodegenerative process influenced by elevated IOP.High IOP increases endogenous retinal tau proteins,a marker of AD. AD can lead to loss of retinal ganglion cells,choroidal thinning,cataracts, optic nerve degeneration and agnosia. Retinal ganglion cell degeneration,extracellular fibrillar deposits in exfoliation syndrome are seen in AD and POAG. Visual dysfunction and optic disc pallor correlates with disease severity in AD.
Advances in research have bolstered the ophthalmologist’s role in diagnosing and managing AD.Ophthalmologists should have a lower threshold for a glaucoma evaluation in patients with suspected dementia.In addition, ophthalmologist should be more aware of the risk of developing dementia in patients with macular degeneration,and diabetic retinopathy.