Pilot study of optical coherence tomography measurement of retinal blood flow in retinal and optic nerve diseases.

Journal Article


To investigate blood flow changes in retinal and optic nerve diseases with Doppler Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (OCT).


Sixty-two participants were divided into five groups: normal, glaucoma, nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), treated proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), and branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). Doppler OCT was used to scan concentric circles of 3.4- and 3.75-mm diameters around the optic nerve head. Flow in retinal veins was calculated from the OCT velocity profiles. Arterial and venous diameters were measured from OCT Doppler and reflectance images.


Total retinal blood flow in normal subjects averaged 47.6 μL/min. The coefficient of variation of repeated measurements was 11% in normal eyes and 14% in diseased eyes. Eyes with glaucoma, NAION, treated PDR, and BRVO had significantly decreased retinal blood flow compared with normal eyes (P < 0.001). In glaucoma patients, the decrease in blood flow was highly correlated with the severity of visual field loss (P = 0.003). In NAION and BRVO patients, the hemisphere with more severe disease also had lower blood flow.


Doppler OCT retinal blood flow measurements showed good repeatability and excellent correlation with visual field and clinical presentations. This approach could enhance our understanding of retinal and optic nerve diseases and facilitate the development of new therapies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wang, Y; Fawzi, AA; Varma, R; Sadun, AA; Zhang, X; Tan, O; Izatt, JA; Huang, D

Published Date

  • February 11, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 840 - 845

PubMed ID

  • 21051715

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21051715

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-5783

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0146-0404

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1167/iovs.10-5985


  • eng