Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics (CPOB)

Retinopathy in Chronic Renal Insufficiency (RCRIC) Study

Retinopathy in Chronic Renal Insufficiency (RCRIC) is a multi-centered research study that will investigate the effect chronic kidney disease has on the eyes. The participants in RCRIC are currently participating in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC), which is looking at the relationship between kidney disease and heart conditions. Because Chronic Renal Insufficiency can also have a significant effect on the eyes, the RCRIC Study will investigate the relationship between kidney disease and eye disease.  RCRIC is conducted at 6 clinical centers and is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Why is it important?

Chronic renal insufficiency (CRI) affects over 10 million Americans.  Diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure are diseases that are often associated with CRI, and can cause abnormalities of the retinal vessels, also known as retinopathy.  The purpose of this research is to gather information on the status of the eye by evaluating photographs of the retina. The information gathered from these photographs will help researchers better understand the relationship between kidney disease, heart disease, and eye conditions.

Study Design

The RCRIC Study involves taking a single set of photographs of the retina (the film in the back of the eye that enables us to see things).  All CRIC study participants at the 6 CRIC clinical centers participating in the RCRIC ancillary study will be asked to have a set of digital photographs taken of both eyes during one of their CRIC study visits.  Approximately 2200 participants are expected to be photographed over a 12-14 month period, beginning June 2006.  Copies of the photographs will be sent to the Scheie Image Reading Center located at the CPOB, where they will be evaluated.  The data collected from the RCRIC ancillary eye study will be merged for analysis with the extensive data collected in the CRIC Study.

Description of RCRIC Procedures

RCRIC participants have photographs taken of both their eyes using a non-mydriatic digital fundus camera that does not require pupillary dilation.  The participant is asked to sit for about 5 minutes in a darkened room to allow the pupil to dilate naturally, after which he/she will be seated at the fundus camera with his/her chin on a chin rest.  An RCRIC certified photographer takes 2 photographs of each eye, and the images are recorded on a computer connected to the fundus camera.  After the photography session is complete, the photographer copies the images onto a computer CD, which is submitted along with a Photography Submission form, to the Scheie Image Reading Center.  The images are reviewed at the Reading Center, and a summary of the findings (sample letter) is sent to the participant, along with a printed copy of their photographs.  If any pathology is observed that may warrant further examination, the participant is advised to see an ophthalmologist of their choice. 

CPOB's Role in RCRIC

The CPOB serves as the both the Coordinating Center and Photograph Reading Center for the RCRIC Study.  Click on the links to learn more about the services of the Coordinating Center and the Scheie Image Reading Center.