Application of Structural Retinal Biomarkers to Detect Cognitive Impairment in a Primary Care Setting

Sima Mozdbar, Melissa Petersen, Fan Zhang, Leigh Johnson, Alex Tolman, Ramyashree Nyalakonda, Alejandra Gutierrez, Sid O'Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the diagnostic accuracy of advanced neurodiagnostic procedures, the detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains poor in primary care. There is an urgent need for screening tools to aid in the detection of early AD. Objective: This study examines the predictive ability of structural retinal biomarkers in detecting cognitive impairment in a primary care setting. Methods: Participants were recruited from Alzheimer's Disease in Primary Care (ADPC) study. As part of the ADPC Retinal Biomarker Study (ADPC RBS), visual acuity, an ocular history questionnaire, eye pressure, optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging, and fundus imaging was performed. Results: Data were examined on n = 91 participants. The top biomarkers for predicting cognitive impairment included the inferior quadrant of the outer retinal layers, all four quadrants of the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer, and the inferior quadrant of the macular retinal nerve fiber layer. Conclusion: The current data provides strong support for continued investigation into structural retinal biomarkers, particularly the retinal nerve fiber layer, as screening tools for AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-755
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive impairment
  • optical coherence tomography
  • retinal biomarkers


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