The radial peripapillary capillaries of the retina are the most superficial of the capillary layers, They are limited to the area around the optic disc in the nerve fiber layer, especially along the upper and lower temporal vessels. They take a linear, more or less parallel course, are longer than the average capillary, and anastomose infrequently with each other and adjacent capillaries. All these factors combine to make them more vulnerable to increased intraocular pressure of a prolonged nature. Fifteen postmortem eyes in ten patients with chronic glaucoma are presented, showing varying degrees of atrophy in this layer of capillaries. The clinical implications of this type of selective capillary atrophy are discussed.
Kornzweig AL, Eliasoph I, Feldstein M. Selective Atrophy of the Radial Peripapillary Capillaries in Chronic Glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1968;80(6):696-702. doi:10.1001/archopht.1968.00980050698002