THE INFLUENCE OF SMOKING ON THE RETINAL MICROCIRCULATION
K. Bachmann, M. Blum, C. Brändel, C. Scherf, W. Vilser, J. Strobel
In the literature the influence of nicotine on cerebral and retinal vessels is discussed controversially. In the following pilotstudy the influence of smoking on retinal vessels was inquired.
Methods: Five healthy volunteers who are usually non-smokers smoked one cigarette within five minutes. The vessel diameters of the arterial and venous branch vessels were measured with the help of the Retinal Vessel Analyzer (RVA) before, during and after cigarette smoking. Pulse, ECG and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) were registrated at the same time.
Results: An arterial vasoconstriction during smoking a cigarette could be seen in four of five cases (3.1% - 13.2%). In three cases the arterial vasoconstriction continued after cigarette smoking (5.5% - 15.3%). In one case there was no change of arterial vessel diameter during cigarette smoking, but after cigarette smoking an arterial vasodilatation could be verified (7.9%). At the same time this volunteer complained about headaches. The venous vessel reactions were different: In two cases a vasoconstriction (3.6% - 9.5%), in three cases a vasodilatation (7.1% - 9.4%) could be ascertained.
Conclusion: With the help of the RVA in four of five cases a vasoconstriction of the retinal branch arteries during cigarette smoking could be demonstrated. The venous reactions varied. Nicotine has obviously also an influence on retinal vessels. Further studies are planed.
Department of Ophthalmology, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Bachstra- Se 18, D - 07740 Jena
Supported by Gertrud Kusen foundation, Germany.