Retinal vessel diameters and the risk of incident age-related macular disease: the Rotterdam Study

M Kamran Ikram, Redmer van Leeuwen, Johannes R Vingerling, Albert Hofman, Paulus T V M de Jong
Ophthalmology 2005, 112 (4): 548-52

PURPOSE: To study the relationship between retinal vessel diameters and incident age-related macular disease (iAMD).

DESIGN: Prospective population-based cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS: Persons (55 years and older) from the Rotterdam Study, who participated at the baseline (1990-1993) and 1 of 2 follow-up examinations (1993-1994 and 1997-1999).

METHODS: In the current analysis, 4345 participants who were free of AMD at baseline and had gradable macular transparencies at both baseline and follow-up examination were included. Also, arteriolar and venular diameters were measured on digitized baseline images. Stereoscopic transparencies of the macular region were graded according to the International Classification and Grading System for AMD. Incidence of AMD was defined as the development of soft distinct drusen with pigmentary changes or indistinct or reticular drusen with or without pigmentary changes (early iAMD) or atrophic or neovascular AMD (late iAMD). Logistic regression models were used to assess these associations, adjusting for age, gender, and follow-up time and, additionally, for smoking, body mass index, intima-media thickness, systolic blood pressure, and total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.


RESULTS: After a mean follow-up time of 5.2 years, a total of 374 persons developed early and late iAMD. Neither arteriolar nor venular diameters were related to the risk of iAMD. The odds ratio (OR) per standard deviation (SD) decrease in arteriolar diameter was 1.03 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-1.15), and the OR per SD increase in venular diameter was 1.04 (95% CI, 0.93-1.16). After categorizing the retinal vessel diameters into quintiles, there was no trend. After stratifying on age, only persons 75 years and older with smaller arteriolar diameters were at a borderline significant increased risk of iAMD: OR/SD decrease in arteriolar diameters adjusted for age, gender, follow-up time, and other cardiovascular risk factors, 1.24 (95% CI, 0.94-1.63).

CONCLUSION: Overall retinal vessel diameters were not related to the risk of iAMD in this general elderly population.

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