Simple, Noninvasive Eye Test May Identify Risk for Stroke

Measurement of ocular pressure amplitude reliably detects severe carotid artery stenosis

FRIDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- An eye test measuring ocular pulse amplitude (OPA) can be performed by ophthalmologists to detect severe carotid artery stenosis (CAS), a known risk factor for stroke, according to a study published in the June issue of Ophthalmology.

Pascal B. Knecht, M.D., from the University Hospital of Zurich, and colleagues used dynamic contour tonometry to measure the OPA on both eyes of 42 men and 25 women (mean age, 67 years) and evaluate its accuracy as a screening test for CAS.

The researchers found that the means of the OPA values differed significantly in patients with no CAS (less than 50 percent blockage) compared to patients with severe stenosis (70 percent or greater blockage) (P = 0.036). A multivariate analysis, using risk factors for CAS, including age, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides, showed a statistically significant odds ratio for the ability of downstream OPA measurements to predict CAS of 70 percent or greater (odds ratio, 0.46; P = 0.007).

"The results of the present study provide proof of principle that the OPA is reduced in patients with CAS and may be used as a noninvasive, inexpensive, readily available, and unconfounded screening parameter to detect CAS and possibly to reduce the incidence of stroke," the authors conclude.

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