February 13, 2015
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Presence of coronary artery calcification associated with higher IOP

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Intraocular pressure is significantly associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, according to a study recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Ye and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 10,723 asymptomatic participants to evaluate the relationship between IOP and coronary artery calcification.

Researchers utilized a non-contact tonometer and automatic air puff control to measure IOP and cardiac CT to measure coronary artery calcium.

Results showed that, after adjusting for extraneous variables, increased prevalence of coronary artery calcium was significantly associated with increasing levels of IOP.

"It is presumed that the increased risk of coronary artery calcium status and distribution of higher IOP have a coexisting pathophysiology," the authors wrote. "There is a possibility that high blood pressure would play an important role in both increased IOP and coronary artery calcium.

Elevated blood pressure, an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, has been reported to be associated with elevated IOP levels,” the researchers continued. “In our study, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and hypertension status were positively correlated with higher quartile distribution of IOP. It has been inferred that high blood pressure contributes to the elevation of ciliary artery pressure in the eye, increasing the ultrafiltration and production of aqueous humor. This mechanism has been postulated as the cause of elevated IOP."

They concluded: "This is the first study to evaluate the association between the risk of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis and IOP, demonstrating that the presence of coronary artery calcium is associated with higher IOP. The present study provides more insight into understanding the process of subclinical atherosclerosis in cardiovascular disease and the relationship with higher IOP as a common pathophysiology."

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.