A new discovery could help catch Alzheimer’s early in just a matter of seconds. Studies are showing that with a noninvasive scan of your eye it can detect Alzheimer’s at an early stage.

Currently specialists use memory tests and track behavioral changes and patterns. Many researchers are trying to discover new ways to detect these different diseases at early stages. Researchers at Duke University in NC say that Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in a matter of seconds with just a look into the eye. With two different studies that were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology both showed how vessels in the retina in the back of the eye would be altered if the person is showing signs of Alzheimer’s.

By using an innovative technique on the patients eyes, scientists are able to distinguish early signs of Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a condition that raises your risk of Alzheimer’s. Drs. Fekrat, Grewal says the link between Alzheimer’s and a persons retina is examined with a tool called the  optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). He says, ” The OCTA lets ophthalmologists examine each of the retina’s layers, mapping them and measuring their thickness non invasively. The technique uses light waves to take photos of the retina.”

“Drs. Fekrat, Grewal, and team found that people with Alzheimer’s had lost small blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. Also, a certain layer of the retina was thinner in people with Alzheimer’s than in those with MCI or people who did not have any form of cognitive impairment.”

“The study revealed that the retina is thinner in people with a higher genetic risk of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, the hippocampus was smaller in these people. Both of these dementia signs correlated with a poor score on the cognitive impairment test.”