Keep An Eye on MS

By Gina Roberts-Grey

With multiple sclerosis, you want to halt the deterioration of nerves and brain cells as soon as possible. But often doctors can’t detect that deterioration until late in the game—when the damage already has permanently affected the brain. A simple and quick eye scan, however, may alert doctors to nerve damage far sooner than traditional methods, according to a recent Johns Hopkins University-based study. This would allow doctors to treat the disease in its early stages, when their efforts are most effective, and help prevent future damage.

The painless, noninvasive scan, called optical coherence tomography, measures the thickness of retinal nerves. Thinner nerves indicate the beginnings of MS damage. The technique is still relatively new, so if you have MS or a family history of it, check with your eye doctor to determine if you’re a good candidate for the scan.