What is the role of conjunctival microvasculopathy in HIV infection?

Updated: Jun 12, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Copeland, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Several conjunctival microvascular changes commonly are seen in HIV-positive patients during the course of the disease. These changes include segmental vascular dilation and narrowing, microaneurysm formation, and appearance of comma-shaped vascular fragments.

The specific etiology of the microvascular changes is not known; however, increased plasma viscosity and immune-complex deposition are believed to be involved. Direct infection of the conjunctival vascular endothelium by HIV has been suggested as a possible cause.

These microvascular changes occur in as many as 70-80% of patients who are HIV positive.


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