Objectives: Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) is a noninvasive ophthalmic technique that identifies corneal nerve degeneration in a range of peripheral neuropathies and in patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We sought to determine whether there is any association of corneal nerve fiber measures with cognitive function and functional independence in patients with MCI and dementia. Methods: In this study, 76 nondiabetic participants with MCI (n = 30), dementia (n = 26), and healthy age-matched controls (n = 20) underwent assessment of cognitive and physical function and CCM. Results: There was a progressive reduction in corneal nerve fiber density (CNFD), branch density (CNBD), and fiber length (CNFL) (P < 0.0001) in patients with MCI and dementia compared to healthy controls. Adjusted for confounders, all three corneal nerve fiber measures were significantly associated with cognitive function (P < 0.05) and functional independence (P < 0.01) in MCI and dementia. The area under the ROC curve to distinguish MCI with CNFD, CNBD, and CNFL was 69.1%, 73.2%, and 73.0% and for dementia it was 84.8%, 84.2%, and 86.2%, respectively. Interpretation: CCM demonstrates corneal nerve fiber loss, which is associated with a decline in cognitive function and functional independence in patients with MCI and dementia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology