Hypertension of retina

Topic Completed: 1 February 2014

Minor changes: 5 April 2019

Copyright: 2004-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: hypertension[title] retina [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Pernick N. Retina: hypertension of retina. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeretinahypertension.html. Accessed June 1st, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Retinal arteriolosclerosis causes thickened arteriolar wall; with ophthalmoscope, vessels appear narrow and blood changes from bright red to copper or silver
  • Since retinal arterioles and veins share a common adventitial sheath, marked arteriolosclerosis may cause compression of vein where both vessels cross
  • Elschnig spots: focal choroidal infarcts due to damage to choroidal vessels
  • Retinal exudates: due to damage to choriocapillaris (internal layer of choroidal vasculature) with accumulation between neurosensory retina and retinal pigment epithelium and possible detachment
  • Retinal arteriole damage from malignant hypertension usually accumulates in outer plexiform layer and resembles macular star with ophthalmoscope; may cause inter-retinal flame shaped or dot / blot hemorrhages
  • Infarcts in nerve fiber layer cause "cotton wool spots"; infarcts are due to occlusion or AIDS related vasculopathy
  • Chronic hypertension causes onion skin thickening of vessels
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