Canadian Study Increases Knowledge About Preeclampsia and Maternal Eyesight

By Kristine Hartvigsen on January 25th, 2017

Canadian researchers who studied more than a million mothers over 24 years to compare those who delivered their babies while suffering from preeclampsia and those without recently published their long-term findings in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Their general conclusion was that preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) is a compelling indicator of chronic disease later in life. Specifically, they found that women who had preeclampsia were 1.6 times more likely to be at risk for retinal detachment and nearly twice as likely to develop other diseases of the retina later in life.

The risk began right after delivery and increased steadily over 15 years. Women who developed preeclampsia early in pregnancy carried higher risk than those who developed preeclampsia later in pregnancy.

“Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension attenuated the associations, but not enough to fully explain the relationship,” the study’s authors wrote. “…  Our findings suggest that preeclampsia is associated with long-term risk of retinal disorders, that is, beyond the first year postpartum. Women with preeclampsia may benefit from increased vigilance for retinal disorders after pregnancy.”

Ophthalmologists generally recommend annual screenings of diabetic and hypertensive patients. However, they do not include women with a history of preeclampsia in that recommendation. The authors suggested that further research is needed to definitively conclude that a history of preeclampsia should be an indicator for regular screening.

This blog provides general information and discussion about healthcare-related subjects. The content and linked materials provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader is an expectant mother with a medical concern, she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or healthcare provider.

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