The following is the summary of “Retinal vessel diameters and function in cardiovascular risk and disease” published in November 2022 issue of Retinal and eye research by Hanssen, et al.

Over the past 2 decades, mounting data has shown that assessing subclinical damage to retinal microvascular structure and function in the eye may provide a novel window for cardiovascular risk stratification. This can be aided by the non-invasive recording and analysis of the dilation of retinal arterioles and venules in response to flicker light and endothelial function. In addition, new research indicates that retinal microvascular indicators are prime candidates for clinical adoption as accurate risk predictors. 

The purpose of this article is to go beyond just reviewing the existing data and current state of research by instead focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of various research methodologies, as well as highlighting knowledge gaps and potential future avenues of investigation. Applications in cardiovascular disease risk assessment and monitoring treatment are emphasized most. A fundamental understanding of retinal vascular imaging is provided by this article, which begins with an anatomical and physiological overview of the retinal microcirculation and progresses to a thorough description of the methodology used. This helps us get a clearer picture of the microvascular dysfunction in the retina that contributes to the general prevalence and progression of cardiovascular disease. 

Retinal vessel sizes and function are shown to be clinically meaningful and predictive of cardiovascular disease incidence and outcome, and fresh evidence in support of this claim is presented. In addition, retinal microvascular biomarkers are sensitive to treatment, and results in children suggest they may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease in young people. Finally, solutions to diagnostic problems are examined, and conceptual steps toward clinical application are put into context, all of which stem from the availability of normative data.