The relationship of systemic markers of renal function and vascular function with retinal blood vessel responses

R. Heitmar, C. Varma, P. De, Y.C. Lau, A.D. Blann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To test the hypothesis of a significant relationship between systemic markers of renal and vascular function (processes linked to cardiovascular disease and its development) and retinal microvascular function in diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.Methods: Ocular microcirculatory function was measured in 116 patients with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease using static and continuous retinal vessel responses to three cycles of flickering light. Endothelial function was evaluated by von Willebrand factor (vWf), endothelial microparticles and soluble E selectin, renal function by serum creatinine, creatinine clearance and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). HbA1c was used as a control index.Results: Central retinal vein equivalence and venous maximum dilation to flicker were linked to HbA1c (both p<0.05). Arterial reaction time was linked to serum creatinine (p=0.036) and eGFR (p=0.039), venous reaction time was linked to creatinine clearance (p=0.018). Creatinine clearance and eGFR were linked to arterial maximum dilatation (p<0.001 and p=0.003 respectively) and the dilatation amplitude (p=0.038 and p=0.048 respectively) responses in the third flicker cycle. Of venous responses to the first flicker cycle, HbA1c was linked to the maximum dilation response (p=0.004) and dilatation amplitude (p=0.017), vWf was linked to the maximum constriction response (p=0.016), and creatinine clearance to the baseline diameter fluctuation (p=0.029). In the second flicker cycle, dilatation amplitude was linked to serum creatinine (p=0.022). Conclusions: Several retinal blood vessel responses to flickering light are linked to glycaemia and renal function, but only one index is linked to endothelial function. Renal function must be considered when interpreting retinal vessel responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2257–2265
Number of pages9
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number11
Early online date20 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

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  • microcirculation
  • retinal vessels
  • diabetes
  • renal function
  • vascular function


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  • Oximetry Workshop

    Rebekka Heitmar (Participant)

    18 Jan 201221 Jan 2012

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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