NORFACE - Neuro-ophthalmology Research at Fundació ACE

Fundació Castell de Peralada, Fundació ACE, Topcon, European Comission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions)

NORFACE studies the relationship between cognitive impairment and the thickness of the retina in people diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Currently, there is a lack of accurate testing and higher resolution in the diagnostic process of neurodegenerative diseases. Those that do exist are extremely expensive, such as neuroimaging, or very invasive (and painful) as lumbar puncture.

In the neurodegenerative process atrophy (or downsizing) the brain, especially certain lobes occurs. Recent studies have shown that a thinning of the retina and its different layers is also produced.

Researchers of Fundació ACE want to extend the use of measuring the thickness of the retina, with a photograph of the fundus, to learn more and better about brain functioning and, therefore, the status of patients, to advance knowledge and application of new models and diagnostic tools.

With NORFACE (Neuro-ophthalmology Research at Fundació ACE), Fundació ACE wants to consolidate the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT acronym), a technique commonly used in the ophthalmological field, consisting of measuring the thickness of the retina, which now apply to study brain function of patients with cognitive impairment or dementia.

Funds raised on Alzheimer’s Night will go entirely to the NORFACE project. From the use of OCT will try to advance the quality of diagnosis in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases. The technique could be implemented in consultation clinics memory or in routine clinical practice and change the model of diagnosis and prognosis of neurodegenerative diseases.

Data sheet

Start date


End date


Sponsors / funders

Fundació Castell de Peralada, Fundació ACE, Topcon, European Comission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions)


€ 26.410

Project leader at Fundació ACE

Dr. Marta Marquié, Neurologist and Head of Clinical Research


Fundació ACE Research Team

Links of interest

Scientific publications

Usefulness of peripapillary nerve fiber layer thickness assessed by optical coherence tomography as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientific Reports. December 2018.
Domingo Sánchez, Octavio Rodríguez-Gómez, Sergi Valero, Joan Martínez et al.

Visual impairment in aging and cognitive decline: experience in a Memory Clinic.
Nature. June 2019.
Marta Marquié, Sergi Valero, Joan Martínez, Isabel Hernández, Maitée Rosende-Roca, Mercè Boada et al.

Evaluation of macular thickness and volume tested by optical coherence tomography as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in a memory clinic.
Sci Rep. January 2020. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-58399-4.
Domingo Sánchez, Marta Marquié, Sergi Valero, Sonia Moreno-Grau, Octavio Rodríguez-Gómez, Joan Martínez, Itziar de Rojas, Isabel Hernández, Carla Abdelnour, Lluís Tárraga, Mercè Boada, Agustín Ruiz et al.

Macular vessel density in the superficial plexus is not associated to cerebrospinal fluid core biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with mild cognitive impairment: The NORFACE cohort
Front. Neurosci. February 2023. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2023.1076177.
Marta Marquié, Lluís Tárraga, Sergi Valero, Agustín Ruiz, Mercè Boada et al.

Genome-wide association study and polygenic risk scores of retinal thickness across the cognitive continuum: data from the NORFACE cohort
Alzheimer's Research & Therapy. February 2024. doi:10.1186/s13195-024-01398-8.
Marta Marquié, Sergi Valero, Lluís Tárraga, Mercè Boada, Agustín Ruiz et al.