Elevated blood pressure ups retinal vascular occlusion risk

05 Feb 2023
Elevated blood pressure ups retinal vascular occlusion risk

Individuals with high blood pressure (BP), stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension are at greater risk of retinal vascular occlusion relative to those with normal BP, as reported in a study.

In this nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study, researchers examined the association of retinal vascular occlusion—including retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and retinal artery occlusion (RAO)—with stages of hypertension.

The participants were grouped into four based on baseline BP as defined by the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline. For the BP change analysis, BP groups were defined according to the combination of baseline and follow-up BP categories.

Multivariable Cox analysis showed that the risk of retinal vascular occlusion was significantly higher in the stage 2 hypertension group (hazard ratio [HR], 1.32), stage 1 hypertension group (HR, 1.07), and elevated BP group (HR, 1.10).

The associations were consistent in an analysis that assessed the risk of RVO. On the other hand, the results for RAO were insignificant.

Of note, BP-lowering treatment led to a significant decrease in the risks of retinal vascular occlusion both in stage 1 (HR, 0.88) and stage 2 hypertension (HR, 0.73). However, the incidence rate of retinal vascular occlusion was still higher among individuals with treated hypertension than among those with normal BP.

The findings highlight the potential of controlling hypertension in reducing the risk of subsequent retinal vascular occlusion.

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