We investigated the incidence and prevalence of retinopathy in a sample of 981 middle-aged ARIC study participants who were selected to participate in the third and fourth ARIC study examinations and who had retinal photographs of the same eye taken at both study visits. The prevalence of retinopathy was 7.7%, with 3.8% of people developing signs of retinopathy in the three year interval between exams. Although the rate of retinopathy was found to be higher among diabetics (40 of 147), a comparable number of cases occurred in non-diabetic individuals (36 of 834). Factors found to increase risk of retinopathy include higher levels of blood pressure, fasting serum glucose, total cholesterol, and plasma fibrinogen. (Am J Ophthalmol 2007;143:970-976). We examined 10 year changed in retinal microvascular lesions in a sample of ARIC participants and found that, over a decade, new retinal vessels appeared and a significant proportion disappeared, suggesting considerable remodeling in the retinal microvasculature. (Ophthalmology 2011;118:1612-1618). Measurement of systolic blood pressure and plasma glucose levels monitored over 18 years showed even modest elevations were associated with retinal vessel caliber and retinopathy, and persisted even among persons without diabetes. (Atherosclerosis 2012;225:412-417). Based on the participation of the ARIC cohort in the CHARGE Consortium, several papers have been published on the genetic basis of retinal vessel caliber, retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration, including PLOS Genetics Oct 2010 e1001184;Jan 2013 e53830;Feb 2013 e54232;and June 2013 e65804. For more information about the ARIC study, including the full list of investigators and participating institutions and resulting publications, see http://www2.cscc.unc.edu/aric/ www.cscc.unc.edu/carmri/. For information on securing access to data, refer to dbGaP (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) and BIOPROJECT (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject)

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National Eye Institute (NEI)
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Ding, Jie; Wai, Khin Lay; McGeechan, Kevin et al. (2014) Retinal vascular caliber and the development of hypertension: a meta-analysis of individual participant data. J Hypertens 32:207-15
Sim, Xueling; Jensen, Richard A; Ikram, M Kamran et al. (2013) Genetic loci for retinal arteriolar microcirculation. PLoS One 8:e65804
Jensen, Richard A; Sim, Xueling; Li, Xiaohui et al. (2013) Genome-wide association study of retinopathy in individuals without diabetes. PLoS One 8:e54232
Holliday, Elizabeth G; Smith, Albert V; Cornes, Belinda K et al. (2013) Insights into the genetic architecture of early stage age-related macular degeneration: a genome-wide association study meta-analysis. PLoS One 8:e53830
Liew, Gerald; Campbell, Stephen; Klein, Ronald et al. (2011) Ten-year longitudinal changes in retinal microvascular lesions: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. Ophthalmology 118:1612-8
Wong, Tien Y; Klein, Ronald; Amirul Islam, F M et al. (2007) Three-year incidence and cumulative prevalence of retinopathy: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. Am J Ophthalmol 143:970-6