Can an optician detect your risk of heart attack?

What if to anticipate the onset of a heart attack all you had to do was show… your eye? In any case, this is what a recent scientific study suggests. Indeed, the researchers believe that by combining information about the blood vessels in the retina with genetic data, it would then be possible to accurately predict the risk of coronary heart disease and the occurrence of myocardial infarction.

The simple realization of an eye test could therefore predict the risk of being the victim of a heart attack. “We already knew that variations in retinal vasculature could offer insights into our health. Since retinal imaging is a non-invasive technique, we decided to investigate the health benefits we might get from these images,” said Ana Villaplana-Velasco, a PhD student at the Usher and Roslin Institutes, University of Edinburgh.

The latter detailed the process implemented: “We studied the branching patterns of the retinal vasculature by calculating a measure called fractal dimension (Df) from data available from the UK Biobank. We found that a Df inferior, simplified vessel branching patterns, is linked to CAD and thus to myocardial infarction”.

A unique retinal variation profile

The researchers then developed a model capable of predicting the prediction of heart attack risk by analyzing retinal images…

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