Objective: To evaluate haemodynamic changes in the ophthalmic artery and the retina following carotid endarterectomy and their effect on the pathophysiology of the eye.
Design: Prospective study.
Method: Twenty-two consecutive patients with severe carotid stenosis underwent 23 carotid endarterectomies and one subclavian-carotid bypass. The following measurements were made preoperatively and 3 months after operation; Ophthalmic artery (OA) and retinal arteriole (RA) peak systolic velocity (PSV) and peak diastolic velocity (PDV), macular photostress recovery time, visual acuity, intraocular pressures, colour vision and visual fields testing.
Result: The RA PSV increased by 50% (p = 0.005) and PDV increased by 22% (p = 0.03). The OA PSV increased by 51% (p = 0.001). Macular photostress testing decreased from 58 s to 42 s (p = 0.001). Visual acuity improved in four and was unchanged in 13 eyes ipsilateral to the endarterectomy which had abnormal preoperative measurements. One patient experienced a dramatic increase in the ipsilateral intraocular pressure associated with visual deterioration. In two patients there was resolution of periorbital pain.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate an increase in the PSV of the RA and OA following carotid surgery. There are pathophysiological changes in the eye, which accompany tight stenotic extracranial carotid artery disease and these may be influenced by carotid endarterectomy.