Menu Close

Impact of Long-Term Measures of Glucose and Blood Pressure on the Retinal Microvasculature


Avery, Christy L.; Kucharska-Newton, Anna M.; Monda, Keri L.; Sharrett, A. Richey; Mosley, Thomas H., Jr.; Klein, Barbara E. K.; Cotch, Mary Frances; Wong, Tien Yin; & Klein, Ronald (2012). Impact of Long-Term Measures of Glucose and Blood Pressure on the Retinal Microvasculature. Atherosclerosis, 225(2), 412-417. PMCID: PMC3513355


OBJECTIVE: Retinopathy and retinal microvascular abnormalities are common in adult populations, yet few long-term predictors have been identified. We therefore examined the association between systolic blood pressure (SBP) and fasting plasma glucose, assessed over 18 years, with retinopathy and retinal vascular caliber in 2066 Carotid MRI participants, an Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities ancillary study.
METHODS: Retinopathy and retinal vascular caliber were assessed by retinal photography. Confounder-adjusted weighted regression models were used to examine exposures defined as cumulative, long-term prospective, concurrent, and 18-year change.
RESULTS: Long-term prospective (prevalence odds ratio (POR) per 10 mm Hg: 1.14 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.30)) and cumulative (POR per 10 mm Hg: 1.30 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.56) effects spanning approximately 18 years were found for SBP and retinopathy. The strongest long-term prospective association for plasma glucose and retinopathy was identified at the baseline visit (POR per 10 mg/dl: 1.26 (95% CI: 1.16, 1.38)); sustained glucose elevations over 18 years were also associated with prevalent retinopathy (POR per 10 mg/dl: 1.33 (95% CI: 1.24, 1.43)). Results were robust to the exclusion of participants with diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS: Modest and sustained long-term elevations in glucose and blood pressure are associated with retinopathy and retinal vascular caliber.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title



Avery, Christy L.
Kucharska-Newton, Anna M.
Monda, Keri L.
Sharrett, A. Richey
Mosley, Thomas H., Jr.
Klein, Barbara E. K.
Cotch, Mary Frances
Wong, Tien Yin
Klein, Ronald