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Retinal Detachment More Common Among Affluent

Reasons for association with higher social status remain unknown

THURSDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Retinal detachment is a condition that afflicts the affluent more than lower socioeconomic groups, according to a study published online Sept. 29 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Shohista Saidkasimova, M.D., of Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 572 patients with primary retinal detachment, whose socioeconomic status was determined using a database that ranks zip-code based zones for income, employment, health and other demographic variables. The subjects were then divided into four quartiles.

The researchers found that, in the most affluent quartile, the incidence of detachment was 15.4 per 100,000, compared to 13.6 for the second most affluent quartile, 9.3 for the third quartile, and 6.9 for the lowest quartile. The investigators further note that the trend was more profound in men than women.

"We have not found any satisfactory explanation for the greater incidence of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment in less deprived patients," Saidkasimova and colleagues conclude. "It is possible that a combination of small differences in known risk factors, such as myopia and previous cataract surgery, account for the difference. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that affluence is associated with some other, hitherto unknown, risk factor for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment."

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