Skip to main content

A Medical Eye Care Practice

Home » What's New » Take this quiz to learn how retinal disease predicts higher stroke risk in hypertensive patients.

Take this quiz to learn how retinal disease predicts higher stroke risk in hypertensive patients.

Retinal disease caused by hypertension linked to Stroke Risk

Stroke is what leading cause of disability?

  1. 1st
  2. 3rd
  3. 5th
  4. What’s a Stroke?

Stroke is what cause of death?

  1. 1st
  2. 3rd
  3. 6th

Stroke is preventable?

  1. Always
  2. Never
  3. Sometimes

Being overweight is a risk factor for Stroke?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Stroke patients can minimize damage by seeking immediate care?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Yes but only within a certain time frame

Having uncontrolled Hyertension (high blood pressure)?

  1. Increases the risk of a stroke or heart attack by 4-6 times
  2. Does not affect stroke risk as it’s determined by genetics
  3. Increases the risk but only slightly and I’m better of to stop smoking.

Eye Exams can be important even if my blood pressure is under control?

  1. Yes because patients with eye disease from hypertension have higher risk of stroke even if their blood pressure is well controlled
  2. No, good blood pressure control means no hypertensive eye disease
  3. I have no idea and that’s why I read Desert Health News

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death. It can be prevented by controlling risk factors. Those risk factors include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm), uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, elevated cholesterol, alcohol consumption (greater than 2 drinks/day), existing carotid and/or coronary artery disease and being overweight (BMI>30).

What’s interesting in a new study published in the American Heart Association Journal “Hypertension” authored by Dr. Mohammad Ikram. The researchers reviewed 1406 patient retinal images aged 50-73 years over 1993 to 1995 examination. Participants were part of a study looking a Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Hypertensive retinal disease was classified as no retinopathy (eye disease), mild retinopathy and moderate retinopathy. After an average 13 year follow-up they found a high correlation between increased hypertensive eye disease and increased risk for stroke. This increased risk occurred in spite of the fact that other risk factors were accounted for. “This study suggests that the presence of these retinal microvascular changes indicates additional vascular (stroke) risk beyond that conferred by traditional cardiovascular risk factors” the researchers say. Despite having good control of blood pressure, patients with hypertensive eye disease were at increased risk of stroke (up to four times greater risk). 

The take home… get your eyes examined and control your risk factors.


1) American Heart foundation

2) Hypertenion online journal August 12 2013 “Hypertensive Retinopathy Linked to Increased Stroke Risk” Mohammad Kamran Ikram MD, Singapore Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Singapore