Kidney and eye diseases: common risk factors, etiological mechanisms, and pathways

Kidney Int. 2014 Jun;85(6):1290-302. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.491. Epub 2013 Dec 11.


Chronic kidney disease is an emerging health problem worldwide. The eye shares striking structural, developmental, and genetic pathways with the kidney, suggesting that kidney disease and ocular disease may be closely linked. A growing number of studies have found associations of chronic kidney disease with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract. In addition, retinal microvascular parameters have been shown to be predictive of chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease shares common vascular risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and obesity, and pathogenetic mechanisms including inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and microvascular dysfunction, with ocular diseases supporting the 'Common Soil Hypothesis.' In this review, we present major epidemiological evidence for these associations and explore underlying pathogenic mechanisms and common risk factors for kidney and ocular disease. Understanding the link between kidney and ocular disease can lead to the development of new treatment and screening strategies for both diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / genetics
  • Eye Diseases / metabolism
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Phenotype
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction