Retinal Artery Occlusion and the Risk of Stroke Development: Twelve-Year Nationwide Cohort Study

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Background and Purpose—

Our aim was to evaluate the risk of subsequent stroke development after retinal artery occlusion (RAO).


National registry data were collected from the Korean National Health Insurance Service, comprised 1 025 340 random subjects. Patients diagnosed with RAO in 2002 and 2003 were excluded. The RAO group was composed of patients with an initial diagnosis of either central or other RAO between January 2004 and December 2013 (n=401). The comparison group was composed of randomly selected patients (5 per RAO patient; n=2003) who were matched to the RAO group according to sociodemographic factors and year of RAO diagnosis. Each sampled patient was tracked until 2013. Cox proportional hazard regression was used.


Stroke occurred in 15.0% of the RAO group and in 8.0% of the comparison group (P < 0.001). RAO was associated with an increased risk of stroke occurrence (hazard ratio, 1.78; 95% confidence interval, 1.32–2.41). The magnitude of the RAO effect for stroke was larger among younger adults aged <65 years (hazard ratio, 3.11) than older adults aged ≥65 years (hazard ratio, 1.26). However, the risk of subsequent stroke was significantly increased in older adults aged ≥65 years at the 4-year follow-up (hazard ratio, 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–2.48).


RAO was significantly associated with subsequent stroke after adjusting for comorbidities and sociodemographic factors. These findings are limited by uncontrolled confounding factors and need to be replicated by other observational studies.

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