, which are also called telangiectasia or thread veins, are tiny engorged veins that lie close to the skin surface and measure 0.5 – 1mm in diameter. They may be red, purple or blue in colour.
They commonly occur on the legs, especially the calves, thighs and ankles; but can also appear on the face (e.g. cheeks or nose), or other body areas.
are also commonly found in the presence of spider veins. These slightly larger (1 – 3mm diameter) and deeper veins are usually blue in colour and may also be referred to as ‘feeder’ veins, as when they are incompetent the blood pooling in them can feed back to the smaller surface vessels to create spider veins.
Spider and reticular veins can be quite visible against the skin and sufferers may therefore feel uncomfortable about wearing clothing that reveals them, preferring long pants or long skirts even in summer.
In the CEAP clinical classification system
, spider and reticular veins are categorised as C1 and are generally considered as primarily a cosmetic condition at this stage.