Eye and neurodegeneration

Changes in nerve fibers and vessels in the eye in neurodegenerative diseases

The eye is an extension of the brain. Changes in brain structure in neurodegenerative diseases can therefore be reflected in the eye. It is known that there may be a decrease in vision in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. So far, changes in retinal nerve fibers and vessels in the eye have not been extensively studied and researched in these diseases. State-of-the-art ophthalmic imaging techniques allow detailed examination of such findings.

Background and aims

The aim of the study is to use the results obtained from the investigations to identify and validate ocular changes/biomarkers for improved early and follow-up diagnostics in neurodegenerative diseases. Focus should be placed on early morphological and vascular changes.


This study is a monocentric, longitudinal observational study evaluating probands from all study groups with neurodegenerative diseases in the DZNE. Included are probands with e.g. Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ataxia and amyloid angiopathy.

The time interval of follow-up examinations is 12 months.

Course of the study

Probands undergo examinations to determine refraction and intraocular pressure. Next, non-invasive high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) and angiography (OCTA) images of the retina, optic nerve head, and vascular network of the posterior segment of the eye are generated. Morphological changes are compared with a standard database. Further planned follow-up examinations allow observation and evaluation of changes to detect a possible progression.

Principle investigators:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Klockgether
Prof. Dr. Robert Finger (Augenklinik des Universitätsklinikums Bonn)
Start of the study: 2018
Status: Study closed

DZNE, Center for Clinical Research
+49 228 43302-849


Turski CA, Turski GN, Faber J, Teipel SJ, Holz FG, Klockgether T, Finger RP. Microvascular Breakdown Due to Retinal Neurodegeneration in Ataxias. Mov Disord. 2022 Jan 18; 37 (1); 162-170. doi: 10.1002/mds.28791.

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