Ocular biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease: The role of anterior eye and potential future directions

Cirous Dehghani, Shaun Frost, Rajiv Jayasena, Colin L. Masters, Yogesan Kanagasingam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Globally, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a growing health and economic challenge that has no effective cure. Recent clinical trials indicate that preclinical treatment may be required but a routine screening tool for AD has been elusive. Hence, a simple, yet sensitive biomarker for preclinical AD, when the disease is most likely to be amenable to treatment, is lacking. Due to several features, the eye has been explored for this purpose and, among the ocular tissues, the retina has received the most attention. Currently, major works investigating the potential AD diagnosis by detecting amyloid-β (Aβ) signatures in the retinal tissue are underway, while the anterior eye is more accessible for in vivo imaging and examination. This report provides a concise review of current literature on the anterior eye components, including the crystalline lens, cornea, and aqueous humor, in AD. We also discuss the potential for assessment of the corneal nerve structure and regeneration as well as conjunctival tissue for AD-related alterations. The crystalline lens has received considerable attention, but further research is required to confirm whether Aβ accumulates in the lens and whether it mirrors brain neuropathologic changes, particularly in preclinical AD. The rich corneal neural network and conjunctival vasculature also merit exploration in future studies to shed light on their potential association with AD pathologic changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3554-3563
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


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