Stuart Keel, BOrth&OphthSc(Hons) 1,2
Konstandina Koklanis, BOrth(Hons) PhD 1,3
Meri Vukicevic, BOrth PhD 1
Catherine Istiopoulos, PhD 4
Laima Brazionis, PhD 5 1 Department of Clinical Vision Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia 2 Department of Orthoptics, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia 3 Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia 4 Department of Dietetics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia 5 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
Retinal vascular calibre assessment offers a unique, non-invasive research tool to better understand the pathophysiology of the body’s microvasculature and aid in the prediction of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and metabolic related diseases. However, to fully understand the relationship between the microvascular alterations that occur in the retina and the role they play in human disease it is important to recognise the impact of genes, ethnicity, prenatal, perinatal and postnatal factors on retinal vascular calibre. This review highlights a range of genetic, ocular, systemic and birth parameters, most notably that of ethnicity and birth size, that appear to have a profound effect on retinal vascular calibre and therefore must be taken into account as a source of variation when determining the clinical significance systemic factors have on retinal vasculature.