"Your Retina May Tell Your Real Age"

Feb 07, 2022
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Your Retina May Tell Your Real Age

It’s long been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but did you know that they might also reveal your true age? Find out how scientists are using retinal images to help determine a person’s true biological age.

What is biological age?

Biological age is a measure of how the aging process has impacted your body. It’s obvious that some people appear to age faster or slower than their peers of the same chronological age.

Your true biological age may or may not match your chronological age. Sometimes the differences between the two numbers can be quite drastic.

How is biological age determined?

Many factors contribute to calculating a person’s true age. Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle choices all impact the rate at which your body’s systems function at optimal levels.

The F134 Index –or Frailty Index—includes questions that help determine your true age. Your BMI, blood pressure, and mental health status are just some of the factors that contribute to your true biological age.

How does the retina provide clues to real age?

The retina is the light-sensitive area at the back of an eye. Ophthalmologists have long been able to detect early vascular changes that point to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other systemic diseases.

In a new study, scientists have used a deep-learning technique that combines machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze over 80,000 images of the fundus (the internal back surface of the eye, including the retina).

The model was accurate in predicting retinal age to within 3.5 years of chronological age. They found that 51 percent of study participants had a chronological/retinal age gap of more than three years. Twenty eight percent had a gap of more than five years, and 4.5 percent had a gap of more than 10 years.

Those with larger chronological/biological age gaps had up to a 67 percent higher risk of death from specific diseases. Interestingly, the model failed to predict a higher risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease. Even so, researchers predict that retinal age may soon be a significant factor used in determining biological age.

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