Sex differences in risk factors for retinopathy in non-diabetic men and women: the Tromsø Eye Study

Geir Bertelsen, Tunde Peto, Haakon Lindekleiv, Henrik Schirmer, Marit D Solbu, Ingrid Toft, Anne Katrin Sjølie, Inger Njølstad

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13 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE:   To determine the prevalence and risk factors for retinopathy in a nondiabetic population.

METHODS:   The study population included 5869 participants without diabetes aged 38-87 years from the Tromsø Eye Study, a substudy of the population-based Tromsø Study in Norway. Retinal images from both eyes were graded for retinopathy. We collected data on risk factors from self-report questionnaires, clinical examinations, laboratory measurements and case note reviews. The cross-sectional relationship between potential risk factors and retinopathy was assessed using logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:   The overall prevalence of retinopathy was 14.8%. Men had a higher prevalence of retinopathy compared with women (15.9% versus 14.0%, p=0.04). In men, retinopathy was associated with hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 1.59; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-2.04) and HbA1c (OR per %, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.01-1.96). In women, retinopathy was associated with age (OR per 10 years, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.14-1.52), log-transformed urinary albumin excretion (OR per log unit, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.14-1.87) and hypertension (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.08-1.71). In women, retinopathy was associated with very low levels of urinary albumin excretion (urinary albumin/creatinine ratio >0.43 mg/mmol).

CONCLUSION:   This study confirms results from previous studies on the strong association between blood pressure and retinopathy. A novel finding is the sex differences in risk factors for retinopathy, suggesting a sex difference in the pathogenesis leading to retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-322
Number of pages7
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Albuminuria
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hemoglobin A, Glycosylated
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Prevalence
  • Retinal Diseases
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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