What damage is caused by hypoxia of the retina

• Cotton wool (or soft) exudates (cotton wool spots): these comprise localized ischaemic oedema of the retinal neural layer, caused by capillary obstruction in the superficial layer of the neural fibres, resulting in interruption of the flow along the neuron axon and accumulation of the transfer substances in the neuron axon.

• Form and course of the veins, becoming like a string of beads in the early stages.

• Arteriovenous communications, referred to as intraretinal microvascular abnormalities (IRMA). They can be complicated by intraretinal neovascularization.

• Neovascularization of the optic disk or the periphery of the retina, resulting in haemorrhages or retinal detachment due to contraction.

• Neovascularization of the iris (rubeosis iridis) with a risk of secondary haemorrhagic glaucoma from the rupture of the newly synthesized vessels and the resulting haemorrhage.

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