Dr. Don Steensma 465 W. Channel Islands Blvd, Port Hueneme, CA 805/486-3585

This patient is a 78 year old female.  She has no history of hypertension or heart disease.  She does have cataracts, which is why the photo is hazy.

She didn't know it but she has carotid artery disease.  As the carotid arteries (in the neck) become plugged up with cholesterol and inflammatory products the blood flow through the arteries becomes restricted.  Sometimes a cholesterol crystal can break free and travel to the brain and may cause a restiction in the blood  flow resulting in a stroke.  In this case a crystal entered the ophthalmic artery and entered the eye.  As the arteries branch they become narrower.

The small white spot in the circle is a cholesterol crystal.  It's called a Hollenhorst plaque.  If the crystal turns sideways it might block the blood supply to that part of the eye resulting in a visual field defect.  But, the more significant risk is that if you see one of these in the eye there are probably many more going into the brain.  She is at risk for a stroke at any moment.  She was referred for possible carotid artery surgery.

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