Factors Associated With Retinal Vessel Diameters in an Elderly Population: The Thessaloniki Eye Study

Nikolaos Dervenis, Anne L. Coleman, Alon Harris, M. Roy Wilson, Fei Yu, Eleftherios Anastasopoulos, Panayiota Founti, Theofanis Pappas, Vassilis Kilintzis, Fotis Topouzis

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20 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To identify the factors associated with retinal vessel diameters in the population of the Thessaloniki Eye Study. METHODS. Cross-sectional population-based study (age ≥ 60 years). Subjects with glaucoma, late age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy were excluded from the analyses. Retinal vessel diameters were measured using the IVAN software, and measurements were summarized to central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE), central retinal vein equivalent (CRVE), and arteriole to venule ratio (AVR). RESULTS. The analysis included 1614 subjects. The hypertensive group showed lower values of CRAE (P = 0.033) and AVR (P = 0.0351) compared to the normal blood pressure (BP) group. On the contrary, the group having normal BP under antihypertensive treatment did not have different values compared to the normal BP group. Diastolic BP (per mm Hg) was negatively associated with CRAE (P < 0.0001) and AVR (P < 0.0001), while systolic BP (per mm Hg) was positively associated with CRAE (P = 0.001) and AVR (P = 0.0096). Other factors significantly associated included age, sex, alcohol, smoking, cardiovascular disease history, ophthalmic medication, weight, and IOP; differences were observed in a stratified analysis based on BP medication use. CONCLUSIONS. Our study confirms previous reports about the association of age and BP with vessel diameters. The negative correlation between BP and CRAE seems to be guided by the effect of diastolic BP as higher systolic BP is independently associated with higher values of CRAE. The association of BP status with retinal vessel diameters is determined by diastolic BP status in our population. Multiple other factors are also independently associated with retinal vessel diameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2208-2217
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Epidemiology
  • Hypertension
  • Population-based
  • Retinal vasculature


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