BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Alterations in retinal microvasculature are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We examined the associations of retinal vessel caliber with cardiovascular markers in school-age children. METHODS: Among 4007 school-age children (median age of 6.0 years), we measured cardiovascular markers and retinal vessel calibers from digitized retinal photographs. RESULTS: Narrower retinal arteriolar caliber was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (20.20 SD score [SDS] [95% confidence interval (CI) 20.24 to 20.18] and 20.14 SDS [20.17 to 20.11], respectively, per SDS increase in retinal arteriolar caliber), mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure, but not with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, heart rate, cardiac output, or left ventricular mass. A wider retinal venular caliber was associated with lower systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure and higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity difference = 0.04 SDS [95% CI 0.01 to 0.07] per SDS increase in retinal venular caliber). Both narrower retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were associated with higher risk of hypertension at the age of 6 years, with the strongest association for retinal arteriolar caliber (odds ratio 1.35 [95% CI 1.21 to 1.45] per SDS decrease in arteriolar caliber). Adjustment for parental and infant sociodemographic factors did not influence the observed associations. CONCLUSIONS: Both retinal arteriolar and venular calibers are associated with blood pressure in school-age children, whereas retinal venular caliber is associated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Microvascular adaptations in childhood might influence cardiovascular health and disease from childhood onward.,
Pediatrics (English Edition)
Department of Pediatrics

Gishti, O., Jaddoe, V., Felix, J., Klaver, C., Hofman, A., Wong, T. Y., … Gaillard, R. (2015). Retinal microvasculature and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics (English Edition), 135(4), 678–685. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3341