In European review for medical and pharmacological sciences
OBJECTIVE : Hypertensive retinopathy (HR) is the most common ocular manifestation of systemic arterial hypertension. This paper aims to summarize the current knowledge of HR, reviewing its classical features, such as epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, classifications, management and the most significant systemic correlations. We also provide an update on the latest advances in new technologies focusing on novel instrumental classifications.
MATERIALS AND METHODS : A literature search was performed to identify articles regarding HR listed in Embase, PubMed, Medline (Ovid) and Scopus database up to 1 December 2021. The reference lists of the analyzed articles were also considered a source of literature information. The following keywords were used in various combinations: hypertensive retinopathy, hypertension and eye, hypertensive retinopathy and systemic correlations, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and hypertensive retinopathy, optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) and hypertensive retinopathy, adaptive optics (AO) and hypertensive retinopathy. The authors analyzed all English articles found using the aforementioned keywords. All the publications were thoroughly reviewed to create a detailed overview of this issue.
RESULTS : HR signs have a significative association with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other systemic diseases. Patients with arteriosclerotic changes and, at the same time, severe HR, are at increased risk for coronary disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke and dementia. HR is even now diagnosed and classified by its clinical appearance on a fundoscopic exam that is limited by interobserver variability. New technologies, like OCT, OCTA, AO and artificial intelligence may be used to develop a new instrumental classification that could become an objective and quantitative method for the evaluation of this disease. They could be useful to evaluate the subclinical retinal microvascular changes due to hypertension that may reflect the involvement of other vital organs.
CONCLUSIONS : The eye is the only organ in the human body where changes in the blood vessels due to systemic hypertension can be studied in vivo. All doctors should be familiar with this disease because it has been largely demonstrated that signs of HR are correlated to patient's health and mortality. Researchers should develop a new common, standardized, and objective method to assess hypertensive retinal changes; new technologies may have a significant role in this field. This review takes most of the literature published so far, including the OCTA studies in order to stimulate new points of reference to standardize parameters and new diagnostic markers of this disease.
Di Marco E, Aiello F, Lombardo M, Di Marino M, Missiroli F, Mancino R, Ricci F, Nucci C, Noce A, Di Daniele N, Cesareo M