Background: Growing evidence has revealed abnormalities in the retinal structures of patients with alopecia areata (AA). However, the relationship between AA and retinopathy remains unclear. Objective: To investigate the association between AA and retinal diseases. Methods: The study participants were recruited from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. We included 9909 patients with AA and 99,090 matched controls to assess the risk of retinal diseases. A Cox regression model was used for all analyses. Results: Compared with the controls, patients with AA had an adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of 3.10 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.26-4.26) for retinal diseases. With respect to individual retinal diseases, Patients with AA had significantly higher risks of developing retinal detachment (aHR 3.98; 95% CI 2.00-7.95), retinal vascular occlusion (aHR 2.45; 95% CI 1.22-4.92), and retinopathy (aHR 3.24; 95% CI 2.19-4.81) than controls. Limitations: This was a retrospective cohort study. Meanwhile, almost all the participating individuals were residents of Taiwan; therefore, the validity of our findings in other demographics remains unclear. Conclusion: Patients with AA had a significantly higher risk of retinal disease than controls. Further studies are needed to clarify the pathophysiology of AA and retinal diseases.
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