"Treatment is much more successful when it is begun in early stages of the disease, when sight loss is minimal. Our developments mean we could diagnose patients 10 years earlier than was previously possible," said Philip Bloom, Western Eye Hospital in the UK. The study was published in the journal Brain.(Also Read: 5 Things You Didn't Know About This Eye Infection That Cause Blindness)
In a first of its kind experiment, experts from University College London, UK have invented a unique way to spot glaucoma and many other neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's at an early stage. A new technique called DARC - detection of apoptosing retinal cells - uses a specially developed fluorescent marker which attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients. With the help of the technique doctors can now see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye. The degenerated cells appear as white fluorescent spots during the eye examination, thereby making early detection of glaucoma feasible.
"While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin," Cordeiro said.
The study was published in the journal Brain and stated that the examination uses equipment used during routine hospital eye examinations. Researchers hope that eventually it may be possible for opticians to conduct the tests, enabling even earlier detection of the disease. "In the future, the test could also be used to diagnose other neurodegenerative diseases," Cordeiro said.Inputs from PTI