EYES are known as the windows to the soul but researchers now say they could be peepholes to the heart, brain and kidneys.

EYES are known as the windows to the soul but researchers now say they could be peepholes to the heart, brain and kidneys.

Scientists at the Centre for Eye Research Australia say they have reason to believe blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye, may reflect changes in blood vessels in other parts of the body.

If the theory is confirmed, it could mean that optometrists and ophthalmologists could play a vital role in diagnosing the risk of potentially fatal health problems.

A project funded by the MBF Foundation showed retinal vessels could be photographed then analysed by computer to accurately determine a patient’s risk of a future heart attack or stroke.

Researchers say early diagnosis and treatment of such illnesses could minimise blood vessel damage and thus potentially prevent a heart attack or stroke.

The coronary care director at Prince of Wales Hospital, Dr Nigel Jepson, who was not involved in the study, said the research could have a “significant impact” on the way doctors assessed the risk of heart disease.

Retinal arteries were the only arteries in the body that could be viewed directly, without invasive surgery or expensive CT scans and ultrasounds, he said.

Read the full article from The Sydney Morning Herald