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The authors recruited healthy controls aged between 60 and 75-years-old, previously enrolled into a registry as patients following cataract surgery without age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Exclusion criteria included dense cataract, retinal disease, ocular inflammatory disease, moderate glaucoma, optic neuropathy, cancer, neurodegenerative disease or cognitive impairment. All participants had spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), neurology and neuro-ophthalmic examinations, Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (VFQ-25), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Colorado Parkinsonian Checklist (CPC) and Lewy Body Composite Risk Score (LBCRS). Twenty-eight participants underwent this testing. The mean age was 72.8 years. Ten participants met the MoCA criteria of <26/30 indicating mild cognitive impairment. Three participants indicated one or two symptoms related to Parkinson’s Disease and none met the criteria indicating high risk of Lewy Body Dementia. The average VFQ-25 score was 95.2 (SD 4.3) indicating good quality of life. Univariate and multivariate linear regressions did not reveal association between many of the measures with the exception of a positive association between the MoCA and OCT macular retinal nerve fibre layer volume which was close to statistical significance. The mild cognitive impairment findings in this study are reported as being in line with findings from other general populations. Limitations of the small sample size and lack of eye disease groups such as AMD are acknowledged. The authors report that the size and direction of differences found between cognitive screens and OCT indicate that further research in this area is warranted. Sample size calculations are now possible with data provided by this study for future research. The authors also recommend the inclusion of blood-based biomarkers in future studies. This study has established there is no relationship between screening tools for neurodegenerative disease and the VFQ-25, and further research in this area should not be pursued.

An exploratory study to investigate the utility of clinical screening for neurodegenerative disease in age-related eye disease research.
Pelak VS, Paez YM, Patnaik JL, et al.
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Lauren R Hepworth

University of Liverpool; Honorary Stroke Specialist Clinical Orthoptist, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust; St Helen’s and Knowsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

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