237655 Alzheimer's Disease: Biomarkers in the Visual System

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:48 AM

Denise A. Valenti, OD, FAAO , Vision Care, Quincy, MA
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among the aged. It is irreversible and progressive. There is indication that not memory, but visual integration processing such as contrast and motion are impacted even before memory. AD impacts vision early in the course of the disease and functional losses correlate with cognitive losses. That initial pathology of Alzheimer's disease originates in the visual association area is evidenced by studies of autopsied brains in the Framingham Heart Study. Visual losses in AD have many aspects in common with the functional losses in other neurodegenerative processes affecting the eye such as age related macular degeneration and glaucoma. Contrast sensitivity deficits in lower spatial frequencies are found in those with AD, motion perception is deficient in AD and there are visual field defects. Glaucoma impacts lower spatial frequencies in contrast sensitivity, produces visual field defects and reductions in motion perception. Age related macular degeneration impacts all frequencies in contrast sensitivity and foveal detection of motion. Imaging technology and functional visual fields currently in common use for glaucoma and macular degeneration can also identify early signs of AD. The eye exam equipment needed to identify early signs of AD is already readily available in a large percentage of optometrist's and ophthalmologist's offices. Early diagnosis of AD is important as we develop better strategies to manage and treat the disease. Yearly eye examinations for the aged are already recommended and the biomarkers of AD in the eye are easily measured.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Basic medical science applied in public health
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health biology
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will be able to identify the objectively measured biomarkers of neurodegeneration secondary to Alzheimer's disease found in the visual pathway. Attendees will be able to describe the process under which the biomarkers can be identified during conventional eye examinations.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author as a licensed clinician with research background in the field of Alzheimer's disease and vision impairment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.