Alopecia areata tied to higher risk of retinal diseases

17 Oct 2022
Alopecia areata tied to higher risk of retinal diseases

The risk of retinal disease seems to be greater among patients with alopecia areata (AA), according to a nationwide population-based cohort study.

“Growing evidence has revealed abnormalities in the retinal structures of patients with AA,” said the authors, who then went on investigating the relationship between AA and retinopathy.

Participants for this study were recruited from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan. A total of 9,909 patients with AA and 99,090 matched controls were included in the assessment of retinal disease risk. Finally, the authors used a Cox regression model for all their analyses.

Patients with AA had an adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of 3.10 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.26‒4.26) for retinal diseases when compared with control participants.

In terms of individuals retinal diseases, the risk of developing retinal detachment (aHR, 3.98, 95 percent CI, 2.00‒7.95), retinal vascular occlusion (aHR, 2.45, 95 percent CI, 1.22‒4.92), and retinopathy (aHR, 3.24, 95 percent CI, 2.19‒4.81) were significantly greater among patients with AA than controls.

In summary, “[p]atients with AA had a significantly higher risk of retinal disease than controls,” the authors said.

This study was limited by its retrospective cohort design. In addition, almost all of the participants were residents of Taiwan. Thus, the validity of these findings in other demographics is still uncertain.

“Further studies are needed to clarify the pathophysiology of AA and retinal diseases,” the authors said.

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