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Colour tone of retinal arterioles imaged with a colour scanning laser ophthalmoscope can be an indicator of systemic arterial stiffness.

BMJ Open Ophthalmology 2023 December 7
OBJECTIVE: Colour scanning laser ophthalmoscope (cSLO) offers several advantages, including improved image quality and better visualisation of the retinal structures compared with colour fundus photograph (CFP). This study aimed to identify whether cSLO could be used to predict systemic arterial stiffness.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We retrospectively analysed the data of 54 patients with 103 eyes. In addition to blood pressure and blood data, all patients had cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) measurements, as well as images of the fundus acquired using cSLO and CFP. We determined the retinal artery sclerosis (RAS) index from the colour of the retinal artery in cSLO images, the ratio of arterial to venous diameter (A/V ratio), and Scheie's classification in CFP images. The correlation between each parameter and CAVI was examined using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and the correlation between Scheie's classification and CAVI was examined using Steel-Dowass tests.

RESULTS: CAVI showed a significant positive correlation with the RAS index (r=0.679, p<0.001) but not with the A/V ratio or Scheie's classification. Multiple regression analysis showed that the RAS index was significantly and independently correlated with CAVI.

CONCLUSION: cSLO is a non-invasive imaging modality that has the potential to accurately and instantaneously detect early systemic arterial stiffness.

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