Background: Hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia are major risk factors for vascular retinopathy. The relationship between retinal thickness at the macular area and metabolic risk factors, as well as visual impairment, in elderly patients before developing vascular occlusion needs to be investigated. Methods: In this prospective, case-control study, patients >60 years old, without objective visual threatened ocular diseases or systemic abnormalities, except for hypertension, dyslipidemia or/and hyperglycemia, were included for measurement of retinal thickness at the macular area by optical coherence tomography (OCT). Results: Fifty-four patients were analyzed; 11 patients had no metabolic risk factors, 16 had one, 17 had two, and 10 had three. There was no significant difference in age, and full and outer retinal thickness, but there was a significantly lower inner retinal thickness at the parafoveal (p=0.0013) and perifoveal (p=0.018) areas in patients with at least one metabolic risk factor. The superior (p=0.040) and inferior (p=0.046) inner retina at the perifovea and superior (p=0.013) inner retinal thickness at the parafovea were sensitive to metabolic abnormalities. Only patients with three factors had significantly reduced best corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Conclusion: Elderly patients with metabolic risk factors had decreased inner retinal thickness at the para- and perifoveal areas before retinal vascular diseases. Accelerated inner retinal degeneration occurred prior to visual impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas