High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels can influence the development of retinal vein occlusion (RVO), according to newly published research in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.1 The investigators found a dearth of HDL-C in a person’s diet is common in those who develop RVO. HDL-C, which can be increased by eating foods such as olive oil, soy, salmon and avocados, operates by picking up excess cholesterol in the blood and carrying it to the liver where it’s broken down and expelled.2,3

The Korean researchers investigated the cholesterol’s impact on RVO by reviewing the records of 117,639 patients diagnosed with RVO between 2009 and 2015.1 Compared with a non-RVO group of controls, the researchers explained that RVO subjects are generally older, had high body mass index, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and were more likely to experience diabetes and hypertension.1

The association between the development of RVO and HDL-C was higher among those of younger age, male sex, and had a current smoking habit, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.1 

1. Kim J, Lim D, Han K, et al. Retinal vein occlusion is associated with low blood high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a nationwide cohort study. Am J Ophthalmol. April 6, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].

2. HDL Cholesterol: The Good Cholesterol. WebMD. www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/hdl-cholesterol-the-good-cholesterol#1. Accessed April 12, 2019.

3.  Healthy fat choices. National Heart Foundation of Australia. www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/fats-and-cholesterol/monounsaturated-and-polyunsaturated-omega-3-and-omega-6-fats. Accessed April 12, 2019.