Objective: In adult populations, changes in retinal vascular caliber have been linked with obesity and metabolic syndrome. We examined the association of BMI and weight with retinal vascular caliber in children.
Research Methods and Procedures: This was a school-based, cross-sectional study of 768 children, 7 to 9 years old, randomly sampled from the Singapore Cohort Study of the Risk Factors for Myopia. Participants had digital retinal photographs. Retinal vascular caliber was measured using a computer-based program and combined to provide average calibers of arterioles and venules in that eye. Weight and height were measured using standardized protocol. These data were used to calculate BMI.
Results: In this population, the mean retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were 156.40 μm [95% confidence interval (CI), 155.44 to 157.36] and 225.43 μm (95% CI, 224.10 to 226.74) respectively. After controlling for age, gender, race, parental monthly income, axial length, birth weight, and birth length, each 3.1 kg/m2 (standard deviation) increase in BMI was associated with a 2.55-μm (95% CI, 1.21 to 3.89; p < 0.001) larger retinal venular caliber. In multivariable analysis, greater weight was also significantly associated with larger retinal venular caliber. BMI and weight were not associated with retinal arteriolar caliber. Height was not significantly associated with retinal arteriolar or venular caliber.
Discussion: Greater BMI and weight are associated with larger retinal venular caliber in healthy children.