This study seeks to examine potential risk factors for the development of retinal artery occlusions (RAO).
We used data obtained from Danish nationwide registries to evaluate potential risk factors for RAO present up to 5 years prior to the RAO diagnosis. The study included 5312 patients diagnosed with RAO registered in the Danish National Patient Register and 26,560 controls assessed from the general population matched on sex and age at index date. Adjusted conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio of included risk factors for RAO diagnosis. We conducted supplementary analyses stratified on sex and age, and on RAO subtype. In addition, interaction analyses were performed between strata in the stratified analyses.
Risk factors associated with the development of RAO included diabetes, arterial hypertension, ischemic heart disease, peripheral artery disease, stroke, renal disease, cataract, and glaucoma, with ORs ranging from 1.33 to 4.94. Atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea yielded effect measures close to equivalence. The presence of a risk factor was generally associated with higher odds of RAO among the population ≤ 55 of age. Arterial hypertension was stronger associated with RAO in male patients than in female patients. The association with arterial hypertension was stronger for CRAO than for BRAO subtype.
The investigated risk factors suggest that atherosclerosis and conditions changing the intraocular pressure are involved in the pathophysiology of RAO.

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