Supporting Dementia Action Week
Updated: May 19
Why has ‘diagnosis’ been chosen as the theme for Dementia Action Week 2022? One key reason is that, according to the Alzheimer’s Society,  diagnostic rates for dementia have fallen to a five year low. Part of that may be down to the increasing isolation forced upon people by the Covid pandemic. On the other hand, tending to see forgetfulness as a normal part of ageing allied to a fear of receiving a dementia diagnosis may have prevented people from coming forward.
Either way, those who are living with undiagnosed dementia are left without the physical and practical help which they need. This in turn puts a strain not only on individuals but also on their families and friends. There may not currently be a reliable cure for dementia, but early interventions can help people to manage or even slow down the development of symptoms, thereby enabling them to live independent lives for longer. So much so that it has been estimated that early diagnosis could save some £5trillion in support costs worldwide. 
One of the problems with dementia is that there is currently no instant diagnosis. The NHS website  comments that
“It may take several appointments and tests over many months before a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be confirmed,” although it does go on to say that “often it may be diagnosed more quickly than this.”
There is also the challenge of identifying which type, or combination of types, of dementia an individual may have. This is vital in order to ensure that care can be targeted both to the individual and their condition.
At Occuity we are fully supportive of the aims of Dementia Action Week which runs from the 16th to 22nd May. We understand the impact dementia can have on lives and the importance of early diagnosis. That is why one of our long term goals is to develop a screening device which could help to provide an early dementia diagnosis.
One of the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease is the development of Amyloid plaques. Put simply, as these build up in the brain they prevent neurons from working properly, leading to break downs in memory and cognitive transmission. Interestingly, Amyloid plaques have also been shown to build up in the lenses of our eyes.
At Occuity we are working to develop a handheld device which will enable ophthalmologists to diagnose glaucoma. Our long term ambition is to prove that technology and then look to develop it in order to identify the build-up of Amyloid plaques in eyes. This could eventually help to promote the early detection of Alzheimer’s; thereby enabling individuals to receive targeted treatments which may either slow down the progress, or enable the management of, their condition.