A SCOTTISH pioneer in optical imaging is joining forces with a US company to develop an eye test to detect Alzheimer’s disease in patients.

Dunfermline-based Optos will use its market-leading “optomap” – ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices – to visualise a pipeline of compounds developed by Amydis to find amyloid proteins in the retina, helping to diagnose the degenerative brain disease.

The two will collaborate on the clinical development of the test combining Optos’s technology and strong presence among eyecare specialists with Amydis’ world-leading proprietary compounds.

These compounds bind to specific biomarkers in the retina and fluoresce, making them visible with an optomap retinal camera, giving an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

The partnership will work on an innovative solution for physicians and pharmaceutical companies discovering therapeutic interventions and address a largely unmet clinical need for early diagnosis of neurodegeneration.

Optos was founded in the early 1990s and became a subsidiary of the multinational Nikon Corporation three years ago.

Robert Kennedy, Optos’s chief executive, said: “We are proud of the ongoing use of optomap imaging devices in clinical research to visualise biomarkers in the retina associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“This clinical collaboration with Amydis supports Optos’s vision to help physicians diagnose and monitor disease by studying the retina.

“We are pleased to work with Amydis in this important alliance and the benefit it may bring to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Amydis CEO Stella Sarraf added: “We are very excited with the opportunity to use our targeted fluorescent probe technology with Optos’s ultra-widefield retinal cameras to develop a simple screening test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.”

The partnership was announced as the Life Changes Trust revealed funding of £135,000 to ensure the rights of people living with dementia in care homes are recognised and respected.

Anna Buchanan, director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme, said: “People who live in care homes have exactly the same rights as everyone else and we know that care homes want to make sure that all their residents feel at home and are treated with respect.

“This funding will support care homes to show how to do this well, and how to protect and promote the human rights of residents. It is our hope that these care homes will be useful exemplars for others who want to learn about how to implement practically [Scotland’s] new human-rights based Health and Social Care Standards.”