A straight forward eye test, that can help diagnose mental health disorders or find them before the disorder even arises is close to becoming reality and will soon be available on the NHS.
The award-winning eye test developed by Aberdeen University scientists uses a specialised, ultra fast camera to monitor patterns in eye movement and their early results propose that it is nearly 100% effective in detecting mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.
They noticed that people that had schizophrenia were not observing images in as much depth as those without because they would rest their gaze on certain points for longer periods of time, according to the original research published in 2012 in the scientific journal Biological Psychiatry.
The team from Aberdeen University now hopes to discover whether or not the eye test will also work among people with a varied amount of personality problems and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
They also believe that the eye test could have the potential to identify mental health problems before they emerge, said Professor David St Clair, chair of mental health at Aberdeen University.
Eye Test Aim
Prof St Clair said: “The aim of the test is to help clinicians arrive at a correct diagnosis sooner.
“Patients can then in turn receive appropriate treatment sooner, helping them to resume a more normal life.
“We believe the test may also have the potential to identify individuals who are at risk of developing mental health problems before they arise.
“This test was designed and developed here in Aberdeen and which is the only centre in the world that is developing this technology for clinical and diagnostic use.”
The general public had been invited to a meeting to find out more about the research and they had the opportunity to participate in this latest phase of development of the innovative eye test that took place yesterday.