(HealthDay News) — Retinal emboli are associated with conventional cardiovascular risk factors, stroke, and chronic kidney disease, according to a study published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Ning Cheung, MD, from the Singapore Eye Research Institute, and colleagues examined the prevalence of and risk factors for retinal emboli in a large contemporary multiethnic Asian population. Data were included for 10,033 Chinese, Malay, and Indian adults aged 40 to 80 years. Retinal emboli were ascertained from retinal photographs obtained from both eyes of all participants.

The researchers found that 99.5% of the participants had gradable retinal photographs. Overall, 0.9% of participants had retinal emboli; the overall person-specific, age-standardized prevalence of retinal emboli was 0.75%, with prevalence varying in the cohorts (0.98%, 0.73%, and 0.44% among Indian, Chinese, and Malay cohorts, respectively). Older age (odds ratio, 1.22 per 5-year increase), Indian ethnicity (odds ratio, 3.58 compared with Malay ethnicity), hypertension (odds ratio, 1.95), chronic kidney disease (odds ratio, 2.05), creatinine level (odds ratio, 1.13 per standard deviation increase), glomerular filtration rate (odds ratio, 0.67 per standard deviation increase), and history of stroke (odds ratio, 3.45) were associated with prevalent retinal emboli in multivariable-adjusted analysis.

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“If these data are confirmed in longitudinal studies, they would suggest that persons with retinal emboli may require both general cardiovascular and renal assessment,” the authors write.

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  1. Cheung N, Teo K, Zhao W, et al. Prevalence and Associations of Retinal Emboli With Ethnicity, Stroke, and Renal Disease in a Multiethnic Asian Population: The Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Disease Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 Aug 24. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.2972