Risk Factors for Retinal Vein Occlusion

Rod Foroozan, MD


July 15, 2008


Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is one of the most common causes of visual loss from retinovascular disease.[1] Traditional risk factors for RVO have included hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and glaucoma.[2] However, some studies have shown contradictory results in regards to whether these risk factors are truly associated with RVO. The authors of this meta-analysis attempted to determine whether RVO is related to systemic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia.



Retinal Vein Occlusion and Traditional Risk Factors for Atherosclerosis

O'Mahoney PR, Wong DT, Ray JG
Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126:692-699



The authors reviewed all studies on RVO (both central and branch vein occlusion) published between January 1985 and July 2007. Of the 21 studies they found, which included 2916 cases and 28,646 controls, hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 3.5) and hyperlipidemia (OR 2.5) were significantly associated with RVO. The association with diabetes mellitus (OR 1.5) was not as great. RVO was attributed to hypertension in 48% of cases, and hyperlipidemia and diabetes mellitus were thought to be the underlying contributing cause in 20% and 5% of cases, respectively.



This meta-analysis confirmed the importance of systemic vascular risk factors in the development of RVO. Because of the nature of the study, the definitions of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia varied, in part because the study reviewed manuscripts published over a nearly 20-year period. Furthermore, most studies did not report the severity of the given risk factor. The implications of this study include the potential added benefit of the treatment of these vascular risk factors over the prevention of heart disease and stroke. The authors suggested that measurements of blood pressure, blood sugar, and serum lipids should be performed in any adult patient with RVO.



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