Myelinated nerve fibers and retinal vascular abnormalities

Retina. 1996;16(2):89-96. doi: 10.1097/00006982-199616020-00001.


Background/purpose: Abnormal retinal vessels may develop in a region of myelinated nerve fibers, and these vessels may cause vitreous hemorrhages.

Methods: The clinical histories of seven patients with retinovascular abnormalities in a patch of myelinated nerve fibers are presented. None of the reported patients had other evidence of systemic disease. The cases were traced by a multicentric retrospective study.

Results: Retinal vascular abnormalities ranged from mild telangiectasis to frank neovascularization, with or without obstruction of the capillary network and signs of branch artery and vein occlusion. Age at diagnosis ranged from 15 to 68 years. Vitreous hemorrhages occurred in the four youngest patients and occurred at 15, 27, 27, and 43 years of age. Laser photocoagulation was applied in three patients and vitrectomy was performed in one.

Conclusion: The authors' findings suggest that the abnormal structure of the myelinated nerve fibers and the thickened nerve fiber layer of the affected portions of retina may play a role in the onset of retinal vascular abnormalities and eventually cause telangiectasis, branch artery and vein occlusion, neovascularization, and vitreous hemorrhages. This suggestion is based on the absence of other causes of neovascularization or vitreous hemorrhage in all seven patients, and on the relatively young age of four of the patients with this association.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure*
  • Retina / pathology*
  • Retinal Neovascularization / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telangiectasis / pathology
  • Vitreous Hemorrhage / pathology