Researchers are investigating whether a simple eye test could be used to identify the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
A three-year £1.1 million project will look at whether warning signs can be detected using special computer software to analyse high-definition images of the eye.
Evidence suggests that changes in the patterns of ocular veins and arteries can be linked to other disease such as stroke and cardiovascular disease.
A team at the University of Dundee's school of computing have developed the software - known as Vampire - with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh.
Project co-ordinator Emanuele Trucco, professor of computational vision at the University of Dundee, said: "If you can look into someone's eyes using an inexpensive machine and discover something which may suggest a risk of developing dementia, then that's a very interesting proposition.
"There is the promise of early warning in a non-invasive way and there is also the fact that we even might be able to use the test to differentiate between different types of dementia."
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Researchers will compare measurements of thousands of images with medical histories stored at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital to see if a relationship can be established.
Mr Trucco said: "When changes occur in some parts of the body, you can see differences in the retinal vessels, e.g. in width, some vessels become thinner; some become larger; differences in the tortuosity, or how wriggly the vessels become; there are also differences in the angles when vessels split in two.
"These measurements can indicate a huge amount but to take them by hand is an extremely time-consuming, tedious process.
"The Vampire software interface allows researchers to take these measures repeatedly, reliably, and efficiently even when working with a large number of images."
The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) has funded the project as part an £8 million investment in research at 11 UK universities.
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's chief executive, said, "The UK faces a huge challenge over the coming decades, we have an ageing population and a likely rise in the numbers of people suffering from dementias.
"These research projects will improve our abilities to detect and understand dementias and how the disease progresses."