New eye test could prevent stroke

13 June 2012

A new type of eye test could help to limit the number of people suffering a stroke, according to experts in Switzerland.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a test known as ocular pulse amplitude (OPA), which they claim can reliably identify carotid artery stenosis (CAS), a condition that blocks arteries feeding brain.

It is a major risk factor for stroke but the experts, led by Dr Pascal Bruno Knecht, say that the OPA test could be carried out by opticians and ophthalmologists during routine eye exams to catch it early, before it develops.

In the study, published in the June issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the team used a device known as a dynamic contour tonometer to check the OPA of 67 patients who were assumed to have CAS.

After using ultrasound exams to corroborate that each study participant had the conditions and to assess the severity of the blockage, experts found that patients with the lowest OPA scores also had the most seriously blocked arteries.

According to Dr Pascal Bruno Knecht, the results show that OPA is a reliable and safe way of screening people.

He added: "We recommend further study to confirm the value of using OPA to detect and assess the severity of CAS and to define its use in stroke prevention."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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