Researchers recently found a high prevalence of visual impairment and major eye diseases in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and a strong association between the two.

This cross-sectional study evaluated more than 5,500 survey participants aged 40 years or older. The team defined corrected visual acuity of worse than 20/40 in the better-seeing eye as visual impairment. They also documented major eye diseases that included any ocular disease, cataract surgery, retinopathy, AMD and glaucoma.

The investigators discovered that the prevalence of visual impairment and major eye diseases was approximately two- to seven-fold higher in participants with CKD. They noted that CKD was associated with visual impairment, ocular disease and retinopathy, including diabetic retinopathy; however, they found no association between CKD and cataract surgery, AMD or glaucoma. They observed a significant association between CKD and ocular disease among non-diabetic participants, adding that the presence of CKD was closely related to visual impairment and retinopathy among diabetic participants.

These findings highlight “the importance of ocular screening among CKD patients and potential common pathogenesis underlying these conditions,” the study authors wrote in their paper.

Zhu Z, Liao H, Wang W, et al. Visual impairment and major eye diseases in chronic kidney disease: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2008. Am J Ophthalmol. January 13, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].