Use of laser speckle flowgraphy in ocular blood flow research

Acta Ophthalmol. 2010 Nov;88(7):723-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.2009.01586.x.


Laser speckle flowgraphy (LSFG) allows for the quantitative estimation of blood flow in the optic nerve head, choroid, retina and iris in vivo. It was developed to facilitate the non-contact analysis of ocular blood flow in living eyes, utilizing the laser speckle phenomenon. The technique uses a fundus camera, a diode laser, an image sensor, an infrared charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and a high-resolution digital CCD camera. Normalized blur (NB), an approximate reciprocal of speckle contrast, represents an index of blood velocity, and shows a good correlation with tissue blood flow rates determined with the microsphere method in the retina, choroid or iris, as well as blood flow rates determined with the hydrogen gas clearance method in the optic nerve head. The square blur ratio (SBR), another index for quantitative estimation of blood velocity, is proportional to the square of the NB. The SBR is theoretically a more exact measurement which is proportional to velocity, whereas the NB is an approximation. Normalized blur was calculated in earlier versions of LSFG because of technical limitations; the SBR is used in current versions of the LSFG instrument. As these values are in arbitrary units, they should not be used to make comparisons between different eyes or different sites in an eye. Clinical protocols, calibration, evaluation procedures and possible limitations of the LSFG technique are described and the results of ocular blood flow studies using LSFG are briefly summarized. The LSFG method is suitable for monitoring the time-course of change in the tissue circulation at the same site in the same eye at various intervals, ranging from seconds to months. Unresolved issues concern the effect of pupil size on measurement results, the effects of various stimulations, and how to measure choroidal and retinal blood flow velocity separately without using the blue-component of argon laser.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity*
  • Calibration
  • Equipment Design
  • Eye / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Lasers*
  • Lasers, Gas
  • Microcirculation
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Ophthalmology / instrumentation
  • Ophthalmology / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Vessels
  • Rheology / instrumentation
  • Rheology / methods