A simple retinal scan could predict the risk of early death


We’ve all heard that “age is just a number”. Some people really look younger or older than their biological age. There has long been a hypothesis that determining the exact physiological age of an organism can give an understanding of the risk of many of its diseases. But for this you need to find an effective method to track the aging of the body. The last and simplest method is based on scanning the retina using machine learning technologies that determine the age of the body by fixing changes in the visual tissues.

For most healthy middle-aged people, the algorithm accurately determines age to within 3.5 years from a single retinal scan. But more interestingly, people with a larger gap between biological and “optical” age had a higher risk of death during the 11 years of follow-up. Statistically, a difference of more than 3 years increases the likelihood of early death by 49-67%. For each additional year of separation, the risk increases by 2% for common causes and 3% for causes other than cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Studies show that the state of our retina is a kind of litmus test for the detection of pathological processes in the cardiovascular system and neurological diseases, so its condition can be an important biomarker of aging. More work is now needed on larger sample sizes. But scientists believe that eye scanning can be used in express monitoring of the general condition of the body. The same algorithm can be built into a mobile application, which will allow doctors to remotely assess health patients.