Migraine and retinal microvascular abnormalities: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.Neurology. 2007 May 15; 68(20):1694-700.Neur
This study examined the association between vascular headaches and retinal microvascular disease.
We investigated the cross-sectional association between headaches (migraine/other headaches with aura, migraine without aura, other headaches without aura, no headaches) and retinal microvascular signs (retinopathy, focal arteriolar narrowing, arteriovenous nicking; arteriolar and venular calibers) among middle-aged African American and white men and women from the third examination of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (1993 through 1995).
After controlling for age, gender, race, study center, and cardiovascular risk factors, we determined that persons with headaches were more likely to have retinopathy than those without a history of headaches (odds ratio [OR] = 1.38, 95% CI = 0.96 to 1.99 for migraine/other headaches with aura; OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.05 to 2.12 for migraine without aura; and OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.65 for other headaches). Associations with migraine were stronger among the subset of participants without a history of diabetes or hypertension (OR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.09 to 2.95 for migraine/other headaches with aura; and OR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.71 for migraine without aura). Headaches were not associated with focal arteriolar narrowing or arteriovenous nicking. Persons with headaches tended to have smaller mean arteriolar and venular calibers; however, these associations did not tend to persist among those without hypertension or diabetes.
Middle-aged persons with migraine and other headaches were more likely to have retinopathy signs, supporting the hypothesis that neurovascular dysfunction may underlie vascular headaches.