Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is considered an effective therapeutic method for improving ocular circulation. The choroid is a predominantly vascular tissue; thus, systemic and local vascular alterations may influence its morphology and function. The aim of the current study was to analyse changes in choroidal thickness and volume in patients with significant internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS) before and after unilateral CEA.
The 42 eyes of the 21 asymptomatic patients included in the study were divided into two groups: those ipsilateral (EIE) and those contralateral (ECE) to CEA. All participants underwent a complete ophthalmologic examination, including enhanced depth imaging-optical coherence tomography (EDI-OCT). A comparative analysis of subfoveal thickness (CT) and choroidal volume (CV) measured in nine Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) subfields at baseline, on the 2nd day after CEA, and in the 3rd month after CEA was performed.
In the EIE and ECE groups, no significant differences in either CT or CV values before and on the 2nd day after the CEA were observed. In the EIE group, a significant increase in CT and CV in the 3rd month after CEA compared to baseline was noted in the specific ETDRS region. Changes in CT and CV after surgery were positively correlated with the participants’ physical activity status and diastolic blood pressure and negatively correlated with the participants’ age and smoking status. Additionally, the analysis of changes in CV after CEA showed a positive correlation between the EIE and ECE groups.
CT and CV fluctuations in the central and perifoveal areas visualized with EDI-OCT enabled the observation of the processes of tissue adaptation to variable blood flow conditions.

Copyright © 2020 Elżbieta Krytkowska et al.