Would You Take This Test?

If a test could indicate the likelihood of dying within the next 10 years, would you take such a test?

An international team of researchers has discovered a link between the biological age of a person’s retinas and their risk of death. The results indicate that a simple eye test may provide doctors with a clue into how long you have left to live.

A study of almost 47,000 adults found that people whose retinas were “older” than their actual age were more likely to die over the next decade.

Researchers monitored the participants, all between 40 and 69 years-old, for an average of 11 years. Each person had their fundus — the back surface of the eye — scanned as part of the UK Biobank study. The international team compared each retina’s “biological age” with that person’s chronological age — discovering a “retinal age gap” in many participants.

Large gaps were associated with 49 to 67 percent higher risks of death from any cause other than cardiovascular disease or cancer. This was after taking into account potentially influential factors such as high blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle habits, and ethnicity.

For each one-year increase in the age gap, scientists found a two and three percent rise in the risk of death from any cause or a specific cause, respectively.

The new findings, combined with previous research, add weight to “the hypothesis that the retina plays an important role in the aging process and is sensitive to the cumulative damages of aging which increase the mortality risk.”

“Our findings indicate that retinal age gap might be a potential biomarker of aging that is closely related to risk of mortality, implying the potential of retinal image as a screening tool for risk stratification and delivery of tailored interventions,” the study authors write in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

So what do you think? Would you take the test?

I certainly would.

While it would certainly be unnerving to learn that you have less than 10 years to live, I think the study suggests that armed with such info, a person could take proactive steps to increase their health.

I’d want to know if the test predicts I am going to die in 10 years. If it did, then I would be quite proactive in trying to improve my health.

Or maybe I could cheat death by getting a double eye transplant with eyes that perform better on this retinal scan test. Imagine if you could keep repeating this; a new set of eyes every few years, and thus never getting a prediction of dying within the next 10 years.

I may have just discovered the fountain of youth…

*source and image from StudyFinds

88 thoughts on “Would You Take This Test?

  1. Oh my! Hmmm…. it would be morbid news to receive but if you could be proactive then to prevent it , it may be a good thing to know.
    My son just told me this week that I need to live until I am 130 and he will live until he is 100 and then we can die at the same time. That kid pulls my heart strings a lot!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. yes, my wife and are are lucky to have three wonderful sons (all in their 30s at this point!). but yes, some days are more challenging than others 🙂


      2. Oh but I figured by the time they hit their 30’s its smooth sailing. LOL!
        Actually my sister has told me different, her kids are in their 30’s.
        I like the quote that says, “I don’t have a favorite child. It it depends on the day.” 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d take the test. But if I spent all of my assets and wound up living for 20 more years, I’d be pissed. 🤣 If the test has real validity, life insurance companies might adopt it and it might be used in litigation to measure damages among many other uses.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What if the test shows that your retinas are younger than your chronological age? Then you might feel tempted to take more risks with your health, which could result in dying within ten years. But I think this study requires replication and vigorous debate. And as long as that debate is not censored, it could result in finding that the study is a load of hogwash.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess there’s always a catch 22. But I guess many people who get a good health result, like a good blood pressure reading, might be tempted to take less care of themselves than they should. until it turns into a bad reading…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You could also take the test, find out you have more than ten years left and be so excited you don’t pay attention stepping off the curb and get hit by a bus. Just sayin’.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’m not sure—how’s that for a wishy-washy answer. I’m all for being proactive, but I can also see that some people might take it as a death sentence. It seems like a no-brainer that if a person found out they had cancer, they would undergo radiation or chemotherapy to try and beat it, but somehow that feels like a different situation to me. There are some things in life, I’d rather not know. Perhaps that’s the storyteller in me because I don’t care for stories that become predictable after I read the first few pages.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. First, I have to contend with the wrinkles, grey hair, and general aches and pains that come with age. Now, I have to worry about having old ass retinas? Count me out. I will meet my end blissfully unaware and fully on my own terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I researched this for a short story… You can’t get eye transplants – only corneas. Scientists are working on it though.
    I’d probably take the test if it were free and available. I have a curious nature (downright odd, according to some…). And it might concentrate my planning.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think I’d want to take it. If the results suggested I was on borrowed time, I’d have a negative reaction and squander that time with worry instead of doing things to improve my health and enjoying/strengthening relationships with loved ones. And if it suggested I was okay, I might grow complacent. We should try to make the most of every second we have whether we feel the clock ticking or not. (And I’m already bad about that.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would definitely take it … the reason is as we age there are a lot of “elective” surgeries we can opt to have–or not.
    Rather than, say, get artificial knee replacements or dental implants or hip replacements etc etc etc designed to last for decades, if I only had one decade left, I’d rather not spend a lot of it in surgery /rehab/ long recovery periods from optional procedures (not to mention the costs monetarily… but it would be nice to know when we should best opt to take our social security payments!) .

    My mother in law died just 3 months after her knee replacement and, even tho it was successful, it strained her OTHER knee, so she wasn’t pain-free. We had NO idea she was going to die at age 76 but if we had we would have lived those last years differently, spending much more time with her.

    I wish we HAD known, as hard as it would have been to take the news. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Personally I would rather not know. I think the added stress of knowing would make my quality of life much worse. When death comes, it comes. I don’t spend much time thinking about it and I never worry about it so why mess with the status quo?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I will if it will allow me to deal with the situation. Having said that, since it will call for changing my potentially harmful lifestyle, I should just change my lifestyle, right? Although, if the test reveals that I am no peril for the next 10 years, will I be less careful about my lifestyle and take more chances with my health?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Plus, you can change your eye color. I think that improved, healthier habits are likely to produce a longer, fuller life regardless if what your retinas tell you, so you really don’t need the test. Just improve (or keep) your habits anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh gosh I have such a fear of death and finality…. I honestly don’t know if I could do it… on the one hand I agree with you about wanting to know so I can take advantage with the time remaining…. but gosh, I’d be a wreck… but honestly (literally working through my emotions as I write this lol) I feel like I’d be a wreck even if I didn’t know because then it’s like it’s looming…

    maybe.. MAYBE, I’d get a friend or my sister to find out and then if it’s less than 5 years then I will get them to wink at me or something so I know to start taking life by the balls so-to-speak lol… hhaa I don’t know… gotta process this some more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for your personal insights, BossyBabe! I guess the main advantage I see in taking the test is that if it revealed that I have less than 10 years to live, but that a change in lifestyle might reverse such a diagnosis, then I would want to know…

      and I can see how it could be a motivator to live life to the fullest…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. If that’s a thing, then … I think it’s pretty neat. Yes, I’d do the test. I think ’10 years’ is vague enough not to give you a heart attack but enough to give you a kick in the butt.

    This reminded me of an online test back in the day that would give you the exact date of your death if you answered a couple of questions. Bogus, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes… but only because I don’t plan to live much longer. Finding out I’m biologically short on time might motivate me to get affairs on order with regard to my cats and distribution of assets. And to cancel some elective procedures.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I would take the test. Then, if I knew I would probably die in ten years, I could visit people I haven’t kept in touch with, write that book, do some things on my bucket list, etc. What’s that country western song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

    Liked by 1 person

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