Researchers recently reported that cigarette smoking can cause retinal vascular changes, even if the patient’s exposure is low.

This cross-sectional study evaluated 24 smokers (18 men and six women with a mean age of 28.1±4.8 years) and 26 age- and sex-matched controls who underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination.

The researchers found that the mean exposure to cigarette smoking was 3.3±1.0 pack-years. They observed significantly lower total vascular density, parafoveal vascular density and perifoveal vascular density in the deep capillary plexus in the smoking group compared with the control group.

“These changes, which can be demonstrated by OCT-A, may reflect the early impact of cigarette smoking on the microvascular system,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Dogan M, Akdogan M, Gulyesil FF, et al. Cigarette smoking reduces deep retinal vascular density. Clin Exp Optom. April 13, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].