Retina may indicate higher stroke risk

9. July 2014

Worldwide, high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. However, it's still not possible to predict which high blood pressure patients are most likely to develop a stroke.

A recent study showed that damage to the retina from hypertension independently pointed to elevated stroke risk, even when blood pressure was controlled by medication. The retina provides information on the status of blood vessels in the brain and retinal imaging is a non-invasive and cheap way of examining the blood vessels of the retina.

Researchers tracked stroke occurrence for an average 13 years in 2,907 patients with high blood pressure who had not previously experienced a stroke. They found the risk of stroke was 35 percent higher in those with mild hypertensive retinopathy and 137 percent higher in those with moderate or severe hypertensive retinopathy.

Read more about the study here.