Published online Nov 12, 2014. doi: 10.5318/wjo.v4.i4.124
Revised: September 6, 2014
Accepted: September 23, 2014
Published online: November 12, 2014
Core tip: Retinal emboli occur in up to 3% of the population and predict an increase in stroke-related, all-cause, and possibly cardiovascular mortality. The strongest risk factor for retinal emboli is smoking, which has been reported consistently across many studies. Other likely risk factors include older age, hypertension, male sex, total cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and history of coronary artery bypass grafting. Because many patients with retinal emboli have multiple co-morbidities, they would benefit from medical optimization and coordinated care with the primary care physician. Further workup, such as carotid ultrasound, should be reserved for those with risk factors for carotid disease.