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Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2018 Apr 1;10:340-345. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2018.03.002. eCollection 2018.

Retinal oxygen metabolism in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Landspitali - National University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland.
University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Department of Geriatrics, Landspitali - National University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.



We have previously reported that retinal vessel oxygen saturation is increased in mild-to-moderate dementia of Alzheimer's type when compared with healthy individuals. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the predementia stage of the disease. The main purpose was to investigate if these changes are seen in MCI.


Retinal vessel oxygen saturation was measured in 42 patients with MCI and 42 healthy individuals with a noninvasive retinal oximeter, Oxymap T1. The groups were paired according to age.


Arteriolar and venular oxygen saturation was increased in MCI patients compared to healthy individuals (arterioles: 93.1 ± 3.7% vs. 91.1 ± 3.4%, P = .01; venules: 59.6 ± 6.1% vs. 54.9 ± 6.4%, P = .001). Arteriovenous difference was decreased in MCI compared to healthy individuals (33.5 ± 4.5% vs. 36.2 ± 5.2%, P = .01).


Increased retinal vessel oxygen saturation and decreased arteriovenous difference in MCI could reflect less oxygen extraction by retinal tissue. This indicates that retinal oxygen metabolism may be affected in patients with MCI.


Alzheimer's disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Oximetry; Oxygen saturation; Retina; Retinal vessels; Spectrophotometry

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