Prevalence of retinal vein occlusion in the Australian National Eye Health Survey

Stuart Keel, Jing Xie, Joshua Foreman, Peter van Wijngaarden, Hugh R. Taylor, Mohamed Dirani

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Importance: In Australia, knowledge of the epidemiology of retinal vein occlusion remains scarce because of a paucity of recent population-based data. The National Eye Health Survey (2015–2016) provides an up-to-date estimate of the prevalence of retinal vein occlusion in non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australian adults. Background: To determine the prevalence and associations of retinal vein occlusion in a national sample of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian adults. Design: Population-based cross-sectional study. Participants: A total of 3098 non-Indigenous Australians (aged 50–98 years) and 1738 Indigenous Australians (aged 40–92 years) living in 30 randomly selected sites, stratified by remoteness. Methods: Retinal vein occlusions were graded from retinal photographs using standardized protocols and recorded as central retinal vein occlusion or branch retinal vein occlusion. Main Outcome Measure: Prevalence of retinal vein occlusion. Results: In the non-Indigenous population, the sampling weight adjusted prevalence of any retinal vein occlusion was 0.96% (95% confidence interval: 0.59, 1.6), with branch retinal vein occlusion observed in 0.72% (95% confidence interval: 0.41, 1.2) and central retinal vein occlusion in 0.24% (95% confidence interval: 0.13, 0.47). Any retinal vein occlusion was found in 0.91% (95% confidence interval: 0.47, 1.7) of Indigenous Australians aged 40 years and over, with branch retinal vein occlusion observed in 0.83% (95% confidence interval: 0.40, 1.7) and central retinal vein occlusion in 0.07% (95% confidence interval: 0.02, 0.32). Older age (odds ratio = 1.64 per 10 years, P = 0.006) and the presence of self-reported diabetes (odds ratio = 3.24, P = 0.006) were associated with any retinal vein occlusion after multivariable adjustments. Retinal vein occlusion was attributed as the cause of monocular vision loss (<6/12) in seven (0.25%) non-Indigenous and six (0.36%) Indigenous participants. Conclusions and relevance: These data suggest that retinal vein occlusion is relatively uncommon in the non-Indigenous Australians aged 50 years and over and Indigenous Australians aged 40 years and over. Similar to previous Australian and international reports, the prevalence of retinal vein occlusion rose sharply with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • epidemiology
  • retinal vein occlusion
  • vision loss

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