Choroidal thickness in patients with cardiovascular disease: a review

Shanna C. Yeung, Yuyi You, Kathryn L. Howe, Peng Yan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The choroid is a vascular network that supplies the bulk of the retina's oxygen and nutrient supply. Prior studies have associated changes in the thickness of the choroid with the presence of various cardiovascular diseases. This is the first review that summarizes current knowledge on the relationship between choroidal thickness and cardiovascular diseases while highlighting important findings. Acute hypertension increases choroidal thickness. Chronic hypertension and heart failure may decrease choroidal thickness, but controversy exists. Both coronary artery disease and carotid artery stenosis result in decreased choroidal thickness and blood flow. Carotid endarterectomy may reverse these changes. Choroidal thickening in early stages of carotid stenosis may arise from mechanisms compensating for ischemia. Hyperlipidemia is linked to choroidal thickening, while caffeine intake is linked to choroidal thinning. The effects of smoking and exercise are mixed. Changes in choroidal thickness have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Clarity regarding these changes could lead to the use of choroidal thickness changes as a noninvasive screening or prognostic test for pathological cardiovascular changes. Future studies should also investigate the effect of cardiovascular disease treatments on the choroid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-486
Number of pages14
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • cardiovascular disease
  • carotid artery stenosis
  • choroid
  • choroidal microvasculature
  • choroidal thickness
  • coronary artery disease
  • hypertension
  • optical coherence tomography


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