Blood flow in the optic nerve head and factors that may influence it

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2001 Sep;20(5):595-624. doi: 10.1016/s1350-9462(01)00005-2.


In the recent past there has been great interest in the blood supply of the optic nerve head (ONH), how to evaluate ONH blood flow, and what factors influence it, in health and disease. This is because evidence has progressively accumulated that there is vascular insufficiency in the ONH in both anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION) and glaucomatous optic neuropathy (GON)-two major causes of blindness or of seriously impaired vision in man. For the management and prevention of visual loss in these two disorders, a proper understanding of the factors that influence the blood flow in the ONH is essential. The objective of this paper is, therefore, to review and discuss all these factors. The various factors that influence the vascular resistance, mean blood pressure and intraocular pressure are discussed, to create a better basic understanding of the ONH blood flow, which may help us toward a logical strategy for prevention and management of ischemic disorders of the ONH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Optic Disk / blood supply*
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Retinal Artery / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance