Supplementary Material for: The Role of Retinal Vascular Density as a Screening Tool for Ageing and Stroke

<b><i>Objectives:</i></b> To measure the density of retinal vessels from digitized fundus photographs in patients with recent stroke and age-matched controls. To investigate whether the parameter retinal vascular density (RVD) served as a quantitative marker for cerebrovascular events. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> Digitized fundus photographs of <i>n</i> = 158 subjects with stroke or transient ischemic attack within 1 year at the time of examination and <i>n</i> = 1,250 age-matched controls without any remarkable medical history were examined. Sex, hypertension, and diabetes were considered to be cofactors. Measurement of RVD was performed with a computer-aided image-analyzing program by segmenting automatically all visible retinal vessels and measuring areas of vessels in distinct circles around the optic disk. <b><i>Results:</i></b> In controls RVD dwindles with increasing distance from the optic disk. RVD decreased significantly with age (<i>p</i> = 0.000). Stroke patients showed significantly lower values of RVD of –15% in comparison to age-matched controls. In old subjects, stroke in combination with hypertension is associated with a significant decreased RVD, and in middle-aged subjects diabetes and stroke are associated with a significant decreased RVD (<i>p</i> = 0.01). <b><i>Conclusion:</i></b> Age and stroke are significant risk factors for decreased RVD. Diabetes and arterial hypertension are additional significant risk factors in patients with stroke with respect to RVD.