(HealthDay News) – For adults with hypertension, the presence of hypertensive retinopathy is associated with long-term risk of stroke, even for those with good hypertension control, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in Hypertension.

Yi-Ting Ong, from the National University of Singapore, and colleagues examined whether hypertensive retinopathy predicts the long-term risk of stroke in a cohort of 2,907 participants with hypertension aged 50–73 years at an examination in 1993–1995, with no history of diabetes, stroke, or coronary heart disease. Hypertensive retinopathy was assessed using retinal photographs and classified as none, mild, and moderate/severe.

After a mean follow-up period of 13 years, the researchers found that 165 individuals developed incidence stroke. Those with moderate hypertensive retinopathy were significantly more likely to have stroke (moderate vs. no retinopathy: hazard ratio, 2.37) after adjustment for age, sex, blood pressure, and other risk factors. Hypertensive retinopathy was associated with an increased risk of cerebral infarction for those participants with hypertension on medication with good control of blood pressure (mild and moderate retinopathy, hazard ratio, 1.96 and 2.98, respectively).

“These findings suggest that a retinal examination may be valuable for the assessment of stroke risk in patients with hypertension,” the authors write.

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