(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers may have found a new predictor of a
person's stroke risk: the eyes. A new study suggests having a shingles infection
in the eye could increase your chances of becoming a stroke victim.
Ocular shingles is an infection of the eye and the skin around the eye caused by
the same virus that causes the chickenpox. About 10 to 20 percent of all
shingles cases are ocular shingles.
The study compared the likelihood of stroke in people diagnosed with ocular
shingles and those without the infection. Researchers found people with shingles
were four-and-a-half times more likely to have a stroke than those without
shingles. The results were not affected by other conditions such as age, gender,
high blood pressure, diabetes or medications.
The results showed people with shingles were more likely to have an ischemic
stroke, often caused by a blood clot, as opposed to a hemorrhagic stroke, or
bleeding in the brain.
Researchers say further research needs to be done to look at stroke risk
factors, such as cigarette smoking.
Source: Neurology, published online March 3, 2010