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Changes In Eye Health And Chronic Kidney Disease

2 months, 2 weeks ago

2350  0
Posted on Apr 09, 2024, 5 p.m.

3D eye scans may reveal vital clues about kidney health that could help to track the progression of the disease, and this advance could revolutionize the monitoring of kidney disease which often progresses without symptoms in the early stages, allowing patients to make lifestyle changes that could reduce the risk of health complications.

Using highly magnified images (optical coherence tomography, or OCT) to detect changes in the retina, the researchers from The University of Edinburgh report in the journal Nature Communications that the images offered a quick and non-invasive way to monitor kidney disease. This technology has the potential to support the early diagnosis of kidney disease, unfortunately, current screening tests do not detect the condition until half of kidney function has been lost. 

For this study, OCT images from 204 patients with different stages of kidney disease, including transplant patients were compared with those from 86 healthy volunteers as controls. The analysis revealed that those with chronic kidney disease had thinner retinas than the healthy controls, and the thinning of the retina progressed as kidney function declined. However, these changes were reversed when kidney function was restored following a successful transplant, and those with the most severe form of the disease who received a transplant experienced rapid retina thickening after successful surgery.

Estimates are that 7.2 million people in The United Kingdom and 37 million Americans are living with chronic kidney disease, globally as many as 850 million or more people could be affected by the progressive condition. People are at more risk than ever for kidney disease, which is often caused by other conditions that put a strain on the kidneys such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. This research may be a useful tool for monitoring kidney health to provide early detection and enable treatment before the disease progresses. 

“We hope that this research, which shows that the eye is a useful window into the kidney, will help identify more people with early kidney disease – providing an opportunity to start treatments before it progresses. It also offers potential for new clinical trials and the development of drug treatments for a chronic disease that, so far, has proved extremely difficult to treat,” said Dr. Neeraj Dhaun, Professor of Nephrology at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science.

“Kidney patients often face invasive procedures to monitor their kidney health, often on top of receiving gruelling treatments like dialysis. This fantastic research shows the potential for a far kinder way of monitoring kidney health. We are continuing to support the team as they investigate whether their approach could also be used to diagnose and intervene in kidney disease earlier,” said Dr. Aisling McMahon, Executive Director of Research and Policy at Kidney Research UK.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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