Courtesy of Dr Tom MacGillivray, this image of the retina was acquired with an ultra-widefield (UWF) scanning laser ophthalmoscope (Optos P200C AF). UWF technology allows the entire retina to be imaged, including the periphery. Software developed by SINAPSE researchers in the Vascular Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina (VAMPIRE) project measures the following retinal vascular parameters for grading: the complexity of the vascular branching pattern [turquoise lines], branching points [green dots], and vessel widths for arterioles [red line] and venules [blue line]. Such vascular characteristics quantifiable on retinal imaging have been shown to reflect cerebrovascular health, complementing brain imaging.

A recently published pilot study in collaboration with VAMPIRE and researchers at Queen’s University Belfast identified retinal vascular parameters analysed from UWF images as potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and its progression:

Csincsik L, MacGillivray TJ, Flynn E, Pellegrini  E, Papanastasiou G, Barzegar-Befroei N, Csutak A, Bird AC, Ritchie CW, Peto T, Lengyel I. Peripheral Retinal Imaging Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Pilot Study. Ophthalmic Res 2018; 59:182-192.