Does cardiovascular therapy affect the onset and recurrence of preretinal and vitreous haemorrhage in diabetic eye disease?

Eye (Lond). 2004 Aug;18(8):821-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6701338.


Aims: To review the role of cardiovascular disease and therapy in the onset and recurrence of preretinal/vitreous haemorrhage in diabetic patients.

Methods: Retrospective case note analysis of diabetic patients with vitreous haemorrhage from the Diabetic Eye Clinic at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.

Results: In total, 54 patients (mean age 57.1, 37 males, 20 type I vs 34 type II diabetic patients) were included. The mean (SD) duration of diagnosed diabetes at first vitreous haemorrhage was significantly longer, 21.9 (7.6) years for type I and 14.8 (9.3) years for type II diabetic patients (P < 0.01, unpaired t-test, two-tailed).Aspirin administration was not associated with a significantly later onset of vitreous haemorrhage. Four episodes were associated with ACE-inhibitor cough. There was a trend towards HMGCoA reductase inhibitor (statin) use being associated with a delayed onset of vitreous haemorrhage: 21.4 years until vitreous haemorrhage (treatment group) vs 16.2 years (nontreatment group) (P = 0.09, two-tailed, unpaired t-test, not statistically significant). During follow-up 56 recurrences occurred, making a total of 110 episodes of vitreous haemorrhage in 79 eyes of 54 patients. The mean (range) follow-up post haemorrhage was 1067 (77-3842) days, with an average of 1.02 recurrences. Age, gender, diabetes type (I or II) or control, presence of hypertension or hypercholesterolaemia, and macrovascular complications were not associated with a significant effect on the 1-year recurrence rate. Aspirin (and other antiplatelet or anticoagulant agents) and ACE- inhibitors appeared to neither increase nor decrease the 1-year recurrence rate. However, statin use was significantly associated with a reduction in recurrence (Fisher exact P < 0.05; two-tailed) with an odds ratio (95% CI) of 0.25 (0.1-0.95).

Conclusion: In this retrospective analysis, the onset of preretinal/vitreous haemorrhage was not found to be accelerated by gender, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, evidence of macrovascular disease, or HbA1c. Neither aspirin nor ACE-inhibitor administration accelerated the onset or recurrence of first vitreous haemorrhage. Statins may have a protective role, both delaying and reducing the recurrence of haemorrhage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Recurrence
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitreous Hemorrhage / etiology*


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Aspirin