Heart attacks could be predicted five years in advance with a simple eye test.

Heart attacks could be predicted with a simple eye test

Heart attacks could be predicted with a simple eye test

A scientific study claims that unusual patterns of blood vessels in the retina are a sign of coronary artery disease.

The study's lead author Ana Villaplana-Velasco, from the University of Edinburgh, said: "This would enable doctors to suggest behaviours that could reduce risk, such as giving up smoking and maintaining normal cholesterol and blood pressure.

"We already knew variations in the retina might offer insights into our health. We decided to investigate the health benefits we could obtain from these images."

The findings are based on more than half a million Brits in the UK Biobank - a database containing their medical records and other information.

Villaplana-Velasco added: "Our model was able to better classify participants with low or high heart attack risk when established models that only include demographic data.

"The improvement of our model was even higher if we added a score related to the genetic propensity of a heart attack."