true biological age
The eyes may offer a “window into the soul,” as poets say, but they also have a lot to say about your health. A new study, which researchers say is the first of its kind, says the retina may also be able to provide us with an easy, noninvasive way to determine our body’s true biological age – which may or may not mirror our chronological age.
“The retina offers a unique, accessible ‘window’ to evaluate underlying pathological processes of systemic vascular and neurological diseases that are associated with increased risks of mortality,” wrote study author Dr. Mingguang He, a professor of ophthalmic epidemiology in the University of Melbourne and Centre for Eye Research in Australia. The study recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers analyzed over 130,000 retinal images from UK BioBank participants between the ages of 40 and 69. As retinas can offer unique insight into the body’s health, researchers set out to compare how one’s biological age—gleaned from eyes—may differ from one’s chronological age. They found a “retinal age gap,” which can work as a biomarker for health risks. If an individual’s biological age is higher than their chronological one, they are more at-risk; with a 2% increase in the risk of death from any cause for each year of difference between the two ages.
“This study highlights that simple, non-invasive tests of the eye might help us educate patients about their overall health, and hopefully will be useful in helping patients understand changes that they can make to improve not just their eye health, but their overall health,” Dr Sunir Garg, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tells CNN, where you can learn more about the study.