The Association of Ideal Cardiovascular Health and Ocular Diseases Among US Adults



      Globally, about 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness and approximately half of the cases could have been prevented. Several ocular diseases share common characteristics that overlap with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation between the American Heart Association's prescription for health called the Life's Simple 7 (LS7) metrics and the occurrence of ocular diseases.


      Data were from 6118 adults ages ≥40 years who participated in the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). LS7 metrics consisted of information on smoking, physical activity, body mass index, diet, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and blood glucose. Scores were summed for a maximum of 14 (most ideal cardiovascular health). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


      The average age of participants was 57 years with 53% of them being women. A 1-unit increase in LS7 scores was associated with reduced odds for age-related macular degeneration (OR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.90-0.99), diabetic retinopathy (OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.64-0.73), cataract (OR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90-0.98), and glaucoma (OR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.88-0.99). After multivariable adjustment, the association was limited to only diabetic retinopathy (OR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.64-0.74). This association persisted when diabetic retinopathy was limited to only diagnosis by retinal imaging.


      In this study, ideal cardiovascular health, which is indicative of a healthy lifestyle, was associated with lower odds for ocular diseases, especially diabetic retinopathy. These findings suggest that interventions to prevent cardiovascular diseases may also hold promise in preventing ocular diseases.


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