Retinal changes in teenagers linked with heart disease later in life

Australian scientists have shown a connection between poorer well-being in adolescents and changes in the retina associated with cardiovascular risk

A teenager

Researchers have discovered that adolescents with poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores had structural changes in their retinas linked with a higher risk of heart disease.

The scientists from the University of Sydney’s Westmead Institute for Medical Research found that adolescents with lower HRQoL scores had wider arteriolar and narrower venular blood vessels in the retina.

Study author, Professor Bamini Gopinath, explained that while poor well-being and specific structural changes in the retina are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, few studies have explored the link between the two.

“We found that health-related quality of life measures were independently linked to the structural changes we observed. This means the changes will still occur, even if no traditional risk factors, such as higher body mass and blood pressure, are present,” she explained.

The results of the study are reported in Scientific Reports.