Eye scans give glimpse to future health problems

Eye scans give glimpse to future health problems - Doctors will soon be able to predict future health problems by studying scanned images of a patient's eye.

Singapore Eye Research Institute director Wong Tien Yin said: "When we take the picture of the retina, we are imaging, essentially, blood vessels as well as the nerves that we can see in the retina.

"And so, any disease that damages blood vessels or nerves, potentially, we can predict some of these diseases from eye imaging itself".

The image is studied by a group of trained researchers before the doctor gives a patient the prognosis of his or her health.


Damaged blood vessels will enable doctors to tell if and when a patient will suffer from a heart attack or stroke, and how likely he or she will develop diabetes and hypertension.

The diseases are the top four killers in Singapore aside from cancer.

Researchers are also finding out that the eye can show the onset of other types of diseases.

"In fact, we are quite surprised that our technology has allowed us to examine and predict many different diseases," professor Wong said.

"Some of the diseases we have been exploring... are quite new, for example, blood vessel damage in the retina... We are also exploring other very common conditions such as dementia."

A scan costs between S$20 and S$80, and has an accuracy rate of 70 per cent.

The eye research institute hopes to make this technology available to the public by the end of this year. ( CNA/wk )

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