Diabetic retinopathy risks are elevated in patients with a history of stroke.

Diabetic retinopathy risks are elevated in patients with a history of stroke. Photo: Mohammad Rafieetary, OD. Click image to enlarge.

A cross-sectional study was recently conducted to better understand the relationship between stroke and ocular disease. Significant associations between visual impairment and major ocular disease with stroke were observed in this national study population. The study included 4,570 participants in the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

With an odds ratio of 5.54, ocular disease was associated with stroke, most notably in the form of cataract (30.8% prevalence among stroke patients vs. 13.4% without), AMD (19.6% vs 7.2%) and diabetic retinopathy (26.6% vs 11.6%). Following adjustments for age and gender, an odds ratio of 9.61 was observed among stroke patients with diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, the study authors reported odds ratios for mild to moderate and severe visual impairment of 6.79 and 9.46, respectively, after adjusting for age and gender.

The study authors noted that the associations were limited to mild visual impairment, mild to moderate and severe visual impairment and any ocular disease. The data also revealed significant associations between diabetic retinopathy and any ocular disease in diabetic participants. The researchers identified a close relationship between stroke and mild to moderate and severe visual impairment among individuals with hypertension.

“Despite impaired central vision, which is the most common visual impairment in stroke patients, eye movement disorders, visual field loss and visual perceptual disorders are also usually found among stroke patients, and most patients have a combination of several visual problems,” the authors wrote in their paper for the journal Eye.

“Our cross-sectional study shows stroke is associated with increased prevalence of ocular diseases,” the study authors noted. “These findings highlight the importance of ocular screening among stroke patients and potential common pathogeneses underlying these conditions.”

Li HY, Yang Q, Dong L, et al. Visual impairment and major eye diseases in stroke: a national cross-sectional study. Eye. September 21, 2022. [Epub ahead of print].