Over the last few decades, the importance of ophthalmic examination in neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS has reportedly increased. The retina is an extension of the CNS and thus should not be surprising to find abnormal results in both the test exploring visual processing and those examining the retina of patients with CNS degeneration. Current in vivo imaging techniques are allowing ophthalmologists to detect and quantify data consistent with the histopathological findings described in the retinas of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and may help to reveal unsuspected retinal and optic‐nerve repercussions of other CNS diseases. In this chapter, we perform an analysis of the physiological changes in ocular and cerebral ageing. We analyse the ocular manifestations in CNS disorders such as stroke, AD and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the pathophysiology of both the eye and the visual pathway in AD are described. The value of the visual psychophysical tests in AD diagnosis is reviewed as well as the main findings of the optical coherence tomography as a contribution to the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease. Finally, we examine the association of two neurodegenerative diseases, AD and glaucoma, as mere coincidence or possible role in the progression of the neurodegeneration.
Part of the book: Update on Dementia