Our eyes are said to be part of the brain and have grown out through the skull.
And in recent years it has been discovered how diseases like schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and MS can be seen long before they break out in those two hard-working and intricate organs in our faces.
Researchers at Flinders University in Australia have evidence found that the eyes can also reveal the first signs of autism and ADHD in children, which means that diagnoses can be made much earlier.
Early diagnosis is crucial
ADHD and autism are two of the most common psychiatric disorders in children and young people. And the number of children diagnosed with the diagnosis has risen sharply in recent years.
According to the WHO About 1 in 100 children have autism, and 5-8 children in 100 are said to have ADHD. The causes can be found deep in the brain, where certain areas develop differently than others.
Autism and ADHD have in common that early diagnosis and timely intervention can determine the well-being and development of children.
But both developmental disorders can also be very difficult to diagnose, because there is no single test that provides a definitive answer.
Now researchers in Australia believe they have found a tool that can help detect the first signs and intervene more quickly: an eye test.
Found hidden tracks in the eye
In the new study, the researchers measured the electrical impulses of the retina when the eye was exposed to light using the technique of electroretinography.
The study included 226 young people, 55 of whom had autism, 15 had ADHD and 156 had neither.
For example, it turned out that young people with ADHD had on average more electrical activity in the retina, and young people with autism less.
According to the researchers, the spikes and dips in the eye’s electrical impulses may be due to changes in the brains of people with the developmental disabilities. These can be changes in the way brain regions interact, but also in the amount of signal substances, such as dopamine, that can be read in the eyes.
Despite the early stage, the researchers believe the discovery could pave the way for faster diagnosis and thus faster help for children and young people.
‘In fact, we’re looking at how the eyes can help us understand the brain. And although more studies are needed to determine exactly which signals in the retina correspond to which developmental disorders, this could be a breakthrough,” aldus Fernando Marmolejo-Ramoscognitive psychologist at the University of South Australia.