Identifying disease indicators (biomarkers) of Early AMD

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Alzheimer's Research UK Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka
  • Institute: University of Southampton
  • Region: South East
  • Start date: January 2018
  • End Date: December 2018
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: AMD


The neuroretina and the brain have common origins and maintains a permanent link through the optic nerve. It is therefore unsurprising that diseases of the eye and brain have shared features.

Alzheimer’s patients for instance, suffer from many different visual problems. Amyloid beta (Aβ) is a group of misfolding proteins linked with causing Alzheimer disease. However, Aβ has also been shown to collect in ageing and diseased retinas, forming part of drusen (deposits clinically recognised as the first indicator of eye disease). Aβ proteins are also found in eye fluids such as vitreous.

This project, will study how Aβ proteins in the vitreous change with age and disease. Vitreous samples will be collected and screened for Aβ changes from AMD patients and the results will be compared to those from healthy individuals. The findings will be linked to other vitreal proteins that are known to be involved with AMD.

Efforts are underway to identify disease indicators (or biomarkers) of early AMD. Aβ changes in patient blood samples have already been linked with risk of AMD. Our findings from this research could provide further proof that alterations to retinal Aβ levels may be used as an effective AMD biomarker, so that high-risk individuals can be identified before symptoms of actual sight-loss develops.