Simple eye test can predict your risk of dying from silent killer | The Sun

Simple eye test can predict your risk of dying from silent killer | The Sun

A NEW simple eye test could predict your risk of deadly illness, experts have found.

British scientists revealed that scanning the inside of someone's eye with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) could reveal how likely you are to develop heart disease.


Heart and circulatory illnesses cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK each year.

This equates to around 460 deaths each day, with millions of men and women living with heart disease.

It's also the leading cause of death in the US, claiming around one life every 34 seconds.

The new test scans the retina, a membrane at the back of the eyes which contains light sensitive cells and helps to detect early warning signs of a heart problem.

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Medics said people would be able to undergo the 'non-invasive' tests during routine visits to the opticians.

The experts said the test has the potential to reach a higher proportion of the population due to it being available on the high street.

Writing in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the epidemiologist who led the paper, Dr Alicja Rudnicka said it would be a better predicter of heart disease than other measures in place.

"In the general population it can be used as a non-contact form of systemic vascular health check, to [move] those at medium-high risk… for further clinical risk assessment."

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By scanning the back of the eye, medics can check for damage of the retina and glaucoma, where the optic nerve can become damaged.

Thousands of measurements are taken through a computer programme.

These look at the width of blood vessels across the retina and detect whether or not they have thickened.

These results are then used alongside other more traditional risks of heart disease such as age, smoking and medical history.

The algorithm, called QUARTZ, was developed through the use of retinal images from tens of thousands of Brits aged 40 to 69.

The signs of heart disease you need to know

The NHS says some people might not have any symptoms before they are diagnosed with heart disease.

Experts say the most common signs are:

  • chest pain
  • breathlessness
  • heaviness in the chest
  • tightness in the chest

If you're having a heart attack, you will likely experience:

  • pain in other parts of the body
  • lightheadedness
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • breathlessness

It predicted 191 deaths from heart disease, with 327 in total having been recorded.

This means the test is over 50 per cent accurate.

It also found that there would be 454 strokes or heart attacks – with 839 in total being reported.

In men, the algorithm was able to predict venular width, tortuosity, and width variation – which are all predictors of heart disease.

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In women, it picked up arteriolar and venular area and width and venular tortuosity and width variation.

The experts added: "Its highly likely to help prolong
disease-free status in an ever-ageing population with increasing
comorbidities, and assist with minimising healthcare costs associated with lifelong vascular diseases."

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