J Korean Ophthalmol Soc.  2014 Apr;55(4):541-547.

The Intima Media Thickness (IMT) as Measured by Carotid Ultrasonography in Patients with Retinal Vascular Diseases

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Maryknoll Hospital, Busan, Korea. pjm1438@hanmail.net
  • 2Kim's Eye Clinic, Cheongju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, Haeundae Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.


To evaluate the findings of carotid ultrasonography performed on patients with retinal vascular disease and to determine the risk of cardiovascular disease and association of retinal vascular disease and cardiovascular disease.
From December 2009 to May 2012, patients diagnosed with central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO, n = 18), central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO, n = 23), and branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO, n = 68) underwent carotid ultrasonography. We evaluated the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery (CCA) and the internal carotid artery (ICA), stenosis and the number of plaques, and then compared these results with those of a healthy control group (n = 221).
The mean CCA-IMT and ICA-IMT were significantly higher in the CRAO and BRVO groups compared with the control group. On the contralateral side, CCA-IMT was increased in the CRAO, BRVO, and CRVO groups and ICA-IMT was increased in the CRAO and BRVO groups compared with the control group. Contralateral CCA stenosis was higher in the CRVO group (9.1%) and ipsilateral ICA stenosis in CRAO group (21.7%) was significantly higher than that of the control group. Plaque was observed better in all groups compared with the control group. The proportion of patients risk for cardiovascular disease, i.e. those who had IMT thickenesses more than 1.0 mm, was higher in the CRAO and BRVO groups compared with the control group.
The carotid ultrasound findings of patients with retinal vascular diseases showed increased IMT and plaque. The group of patient at risk for cardiovascular disease, which was defined with carotid artery IMT, was higher in patients with retinal vascular disease. Therefore, in patients with retinal vascular disease, carotid artery ultrasonography and the overall management and treatment of cardiovascular disease are necessary.


Branch retinal artery occlusion; Carotid ultrasonography; Central retinal artery occlusion; Central retinal vein occlusion; Intima-media thickness
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