Every one-year increase in retinal age has now been linked with a 10 percent higher risk of incident kidney failure over 11 years of follow-up, a UK study involving 35,864 residents has revealed. The one-year increase in retinal age was assessed by retinal microvasculature changes, according to the study published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD). Retinal vessel–derived metrics predict incident hypertension, diabetes, CKD, and cardiovascular disease and add to the current renal and cardiovascular risk stratification tools.
“There is a pressing need to identify early predictive biomarkers of kidney failure, given its associated substantial morbidity and mortality. Aging biomarkers have been associated with kidney failure but their clinical application has been challenging,” the researchers reported. The incidence of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is known to increase with age.
“We have previously developed and validated retinal age based on fundus images used as a biomarker of aging. However, the association of retinal age with ESKD is not clear. We investigated the association of the difference between retinal age and chronological age, the retinal age gap, and the future risk of ESKD,” said researchers.
In the study, the retinal age gap (retina-predicted age minus chronological age), a clinically validated and artificial intelligence-powered aging biomarker based on retinal imaging, was associated with the future risk of kidney failure among UK residents. This non-invasive and aging biomarker may hold promise to assist in the identification of people at elevated risk for kidney failure, said the researchers.
According to a study, Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 10% of the world’s population, and its incidence is increasing. Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are also common worldwide, with an estimated prevalence of 30% and 10%, respectively; both are important risk factors for the development and progression of CKD. The eye and kidney have several structural, developmental, and organizational similarities that support the concept that ocular tissues might reflect renal disease.
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