More than one disease can be seen by examining the eyes, Elizabeth Tracey reports


It is possible to spot diabetes by looking into the eyes, in particular by looking at their arteries. Meghan Berkenstock, an ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins, says there are many diseases that can be identified here.

Berkenstock:  Another thing that we can see is high blood pressure.  We look in the back and see if the arteries are tinier than we would expect for somebody's age and that also goes for renal failure as well when the blood pressure starts to fluctuate and high cholesterol can be seen. When we look in the arteries they should be nice red lines in the back of the eye sometimes they have a copper sheen to them and the cholesterol is a yellow color and then when you overlay the red on top of it and the vessel it gives a copper wiring kind of look.  :26

Berkenstock notes that diseases like multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions can also be monitored by examining the eye, and that even diagnosis of things like Alzheimer’s disease may soon be facilitated by identifying changes seen in the eye, which is also much less invasive than current techniques. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.