Association of the Optic Disc Structure With the Use of Antihypertensive Medications: The Thessaloniki Eye Study

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To investigate the association of antihypertensive medications with optic disc structure by blood pressure (BP) level, in nonglaucoma subjects.


Cross-sectional, population-based study.


A subset of Thessaloniki Eye Study participants was included in this study. Subjects were interviewed for medical history and underwent extensive ophthalmic examination, BP measurement, and optic disc imaging with the Heidelberg retinal tomograph. Subjects treated for hypertension were grouped in the following groups: (1) angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and/or angiotensin-receptor blockers; (2) beta blockers and/or calcium-channel blockers; (3) diuretics alone or combined with others; and (4) other combinations. Cup size and cup-to-disc (C/D) ratio in the above groups were compared with the untreated group, using regression models. Analyses were rerun for subjects with systolic BP (SBP)<140 mm Hg, SBP≥140 mm Hg, diastolic BP (DBP)<90 mm Hg, and DBP≥90 mm Hg.


Among 232 subjects, 131 were receiving antihypertensive medications. In subjects with DBP<90 mm Hg, all medications groups were associated with larger cup size and higher C/D ratio compared with the untreated group. Results were similar in subjects with SBP<140 mm Hg, with the exception of the beta blockers and/or calcium-channel blockers group. None of the medications groups were associated with the Heidelberg retinal tomograph parameters in those with DBP≥90 mm Hg or SBP≥140 mm Hg.


All classes of antihypertensive medications were associated with larger cup size and higher C/D ratio in subjects with either DBP<90 mm Hg or SBP<140 mm Hg. These results suggest that there is no specific medication-related effect on optic disc structure, and the associations found are mediated through the hypotensive effect of antihypertensive medications.

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