Study Shows AI Scans Could Detect Parkinson’s Years Before Clinical Presentation


A new study led by Siegfried Wagner and Pearse Keane of Moorfields Eye Hospital and the University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology has suggested that Parkinson’s disease could be detected up to seven years earlier using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered eye scans.

The team studied ALzEye’s dataset from a 3D scan known as optical coherence tomography (OCT) to produce high-detailed images of the cross-section of the retina in 154,830 patients aged 40 years or older who had attended hospitals in London between 2008 and 2018.

OCT scans are widely used by opticians to reveal layers of cells below the skin’s surface and monitor eye health.

Researchers repeated the process using data from the wider UK Biobank database to assess 67,311 healthy volunteers aged between 40 and 69 years.

They found that people with Parkinson’s had a thinner ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer and inner nuclear layer in the eye, identifying markers on average seven years before clinical presentation.

The study, published in Neurology, is the largest for retinal imaging in Parkinson’s disease and the first ever to show findings several years before diagnosis.

Using imaging across a wider population could “have a huge impact on public health in the future,” said Louisa Wickham, Moorfields medical director.

She added: “OCT scans are more scalable, non-invasive, lower cost and quicker than brain scans for this purpose.”

Associate director, research, Parkinson’s UK, Claire Bale, said: “The eye scans analysed in this study are non-invasive and already in routine use, [which] could be easily put into practice in the NHS.”

Siegfried Wagner, clinical research fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology researcher, said: “Finding signs of a number of diseases before symptoms emerge means that, in the future, people could have the time to make lifestyle changes to prevent some conditions arising, and clinicians could delay the onset and impact of life-changing neurodegenerative disorders.”

Moorfield’s revealed that data from eye scans has also shown signs of other neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and, most recently, schizophrenia.

Source: PMLive