Retinal vascular damage may indicate increased risk of stroke

Two studies have found that retinal artery occlusion is associated with an increased risk of stroke. The risks were highest in the immediate post-occlusion period, scientists reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

“The trend is clear – the further from the initial period after retinal artery occlusion, the lower the risk of stroke,” said Dr. Brian VanderBeek from the University of Pennsylvania. He is quoted by the Healio portal.

Scientists obtained such data after analyzing The Clinformatics Data Mart Database, which included information on more than 60 million insured US citizens.

According to the results of an analysis of 16 thousand patients with retinal artery occlusion, in the first month the risk of stroke increased 3.37 times compared to the period six months before the episode. Within seven days after the onset of occlusion, the risk was significantly higher than in subsequent weeks.

Another study compared 18,000 patients with retinal artery occlusion with a similar number of people seeking help for a hip fracture. In the following year, the risk of stroke in the first group almost tripled.

Based on the findings, these patients need immediate emergency care to prevent future strokes, Dr. VanderBeek adds. At the same time, survey data show that in 2014, only 18% of retinal specialists and 73% of neurologists send their patients with central retinal artery occlusion for such help.

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