Retinopathy, Arteriosclerotic

Retinopathy, Arteriosclerotic

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important

It is possible that the main title of the report Retinopathy, Arteriosclerotic is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Arteriosclerosis, Retina

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy is a series of changes in the retina that are caused by arteriosclerosis. It is characterized by bleeding in the retina, thick fluid oozing from the retina, impaired oxygenation of the retina, an abrupt reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle that may cause dying off of tissue (myocardial infarction), and hardening of the walls of the little arteries (arterioles) in the eye. These degenerative changes can cause vision impairment.

Symptoms

In Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy the opening (lumen) of the little arteries (arterioles) in the retina is irregular. The retina is the layer of the eyeball that contains the light sensitive nerve cells. This layer also contains a large number of little blood vessels. This disorder causes thickening of the arterial walls which in turn causes the arterioles to become contorted.



Flame shaped or pinpoint spots of bleeding may also occur, although they are apparent only during examination of the eye with an ophthalmoscope. The retina may show oozing of thick liquid, and dying tissue (necrosis) in certain spots. The place where the optic nerve enters the retina (optic disk or papilla) as seen by the ophthalmologist, may be blurred. The retina may become detached, and arterial spasm may occur. Eventually internal bleeding or clotting (thrombosis) of the central vein and withering away (atrophy) of the retina may result, which can cause progressive vision impairment.

Causes

Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy usually occurs as a result of progressive hardening of the blood vessels by calcification and loss of elastic tissue (arteriosclerosis). Arteriosclerosis is a general term which includes a number of blood vessel diseases such as fatty degeneration of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and may also include changes in the shape of the arteries. With age, the blood vessels often become more contorted and less elastic. Certain biochemical, physical and environmental factors, known as risk factors may predispose an individual to arteriosclerosis.

Affected Populations

Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy affects persons with fatty degeneration (atherosclerosis), and hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). This type of Retinopathy usually affects people over age 50 years.

Standard Therapies

Therapy for Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy consists of treating the underlying arteriosclerosis. An excess of lipids in the blood (hyperlipidemia) can be prevented by changes in dietary habits. Fat intake should be reduced, and saturated fats should be replaced with polyunsaturated fats. The intake of cholesterol, saturated and short-chain fatty acids (such as those in meats or dairy products), should be reduced. Weight reduction to normal, or even slightly under current statistical norms, is recommended. Drugs may be required in certain patients to reduce blood cholesterol and lipids.



Prevention of arteriosclerosis is possible by good control of diabetes when present, and by weight loss if obesity is a factor. Cigarette smoking may also aggravate arteriosclerosis and should be limited or stopped. Regular exercise may be a helpful therapeutic measure. Hypertension should be identified and treated early.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.



For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:



Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010

Email: prpl@cc.nih.gov



For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:

www.centerwatch.com

References

TEXTBOOKS

Bennett JC, Plum F., eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co; 1996:2181.



Beers MH, Berkow R., eds. The Merck Manual, 17th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 1999:729.



REVIEW ARTICLE

Bhagat N, et al., Central retinal vein occlusion: review of management. Eur J Ophthalmol. 1999;9:165-80.



JOURNAL ARTICLES

Schimkat M, et al., [Mitral valve prolapse. A possible cause of retinal vascular occlusion in young patients]. Ophthalmologe. 1993;90:476-78. German.



Tomikawa S, et al., [Lipoprotein (a) and sclerotic changes in retinal arterioles]. Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 1993;97:967-74. Japanese.



Rabb MF, et al., Retinal arterial macroaneurysms. Surv Ophthalmol. 1988;33:73-96.



Trushko IA., [Possibilities of the color stress test in the early diagnosis and evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment of arteriosclerotic retinal dystrophies]. Oftalmol Zh. 1986;4:229-231.

Resources

Lighthouse International

111 E 59th St

New York, NY 10022-1202

Tel: (800)829-0500

Email: info@lighthouse.org

Internet: http://www.lighthouse.org



Schepens Eye Research Institute

20 Staniford Street

Boston, MA 02114-2500

Tel: (617)912-0100

Fax: (617)912-0101

Email: richard.godfrey@schepens.harvard.edu

Internet: http://www.theschepens.org/



American Foundation for the Blind

2 Penn Plaza

Suite 1102

New York, NY 10121

Tel: (212)502-7600

Fax: (888)545-8331

Tel: (800)232-5463

TDD: (212)502-7662

Email: afbinfo@afb.net

Internet: http://www.afb.org



American Council of the Blind

2200 Wilson Boulevard

Suite 650

Arlington, VA 22201

Tel: (202)467-5081

Fax: (202)465-5085

Tel: (800)424-8666

Email: mailman@acb.org

Internet: http://www.acb.org/



American Heart Association

7272 Greenville Avenue

Dallas, TX 75231

Tel: (214)784-7212

Fax: (214)784-1307

Tel: (800)242-8721

Email: Review.personal.info@heart.org

Internet: http://www.heart.org



NIH/National Eye Institute

31 Center Dr

MSC 2510

Bethesda, MD 20892-2510

United States

Tel: (301)496-5248

Fax: (301)402-1065

Email: 2020@nei.nih.gov

Internet: http://www.nei.nih.gov/



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into myCigna.com. For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html.

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