To examine the relationship between retinal vascular caliber and glaucoma in an Asian population.
A population-based, cross-sectional study of 3019 persons of Asian Malay ethnicity aged 40 to 80 years residing in Singapore. All participants had dilated digital retinal photographs taken of both eyes. From these, retinal vascular caliber was measured with a computer-based technique according to a standardized protocol. Glaucoma was diagnosed based on the International Society of Geographic and Epidemiologic Ophthalmology classification and included people with glaucomatous optic neuropathy and compatible visual field loss.
There were 127 (4.2%) participants with glaucoma. Mean retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were significantly narrower in persons with than in those without glaucoma (136.4 microm vs. 139.7 microm, P = 0.02 and 209.2 microm vs. 219.7 microm, P < 0.001, respectively). After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, IOP, and other vascular risk factors, persons with narrower retinal arteriolar and venular caliber were more likely to have glaucoma (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-1.56 and OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.24-1.79, for each SD reduction in arteriolar and venular caliber, respectively) and a vertical cup-to-disc ratio >or= 0.7 (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.12-1.63 and OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.38-1.98, respectively). Retinal vascular caliber was not associated with intraocular pressure.
These findings support an association of narrower retinal arteriolar and venular caliber changes with glaucomatous optic neuropathy, independent of intraocular pressure.