Fundus photograpy can potentially identify subjects with increased cardiovascular risk, according to one of the articles in Dragana Drobnjak Nes’ PhD thesis.


  1. Wider retinal venules are linked to higher risk of ischemic heart disease. However, retinal vessel diameter is not associated with all cause mortality when adjusting for relevant confounders.
  2. Narrower retinal vessels are associated with higher systolic blood pressure and higher HDL cholesterol, whereas wider retinal vessels are associated with smoking.


Thesis: Retinal Vessel Diameters in relation to Clinical Parameters, Cardiovascular Disease, Retinopathy and Mortality in a Population-Based Cohort of Adults and Heritability of Optic Disc Dimensions in Adult Twins
Candidate: Dragana Drobnjak Nes
Time: August 29, 2017 at 13:15
Place: Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål: Auditorium at the Department of Ophthalmology, Building 36
Link to university website (in Norwegian)


(1) The study examined the associations between retinal vessel diameters and cardiovascular risk factors and all-cause mortality. A wider venule diameter was associated with increased 15-year mortality in unadjusted analysis, but the association disappeared after statistical adjustment for smoking. Age-adjusted analyses revealed an association between wider retinal venules and risk of ischemic heart disease.

There were significant associations between vessel diameters and several cardiovascular risk factors, confirming results from earlier studies. Both narrower arteries and venules of the retina were linked to higher HDL cholesterol, whereas narrower retinal arteries also were associated with higher systolic blood pressure. Wider vessels, both arteries and veins, were linked to smoking.

The study included 908 Danish persons aged 30 to 60 years and with high cardiovascular risk. Retinal diameters were evaluated through high-quality imaging and software-assisted grading methods.


(1) Drobnjak, D., Munch, I. C., Glümer, C., Faerch, K., Kessel, L., Larsen, M., & Veiby, N. C. (2016). Retinal Vessel Diameters and Their Relationship with Cardiovascular Risk and All-Cause Mortality in the Inter99 Eye Study: A 15-Year Follow-UpJournal of ophthalmology2016.

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