The retina, as part of the central nervous system, has distinct anatomical and structural properties for its visual function. Light scattering spectroscopy, while widely used for tissue structural characterization and disease diagnosis, has been relatively unexplored in the living retina. Recently, we have developed a fiber-based visible and near-infrared optical coherence tomography system (vnOCT) for in vivo retinal imaging, to uniquely measure a spectroscopic marker (VN ratio) sensitive to nanoscale pathological changes. In the present study, we applied vnOCT in an animal model of glaucoma (dexamethasone-induced ocular hypertension mouse) and tested the capabilities of four optical markers, VN ratio, peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness, total retinal blood flow, and hemoglobin oxygen saturation ( ), for the detection of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) damage in association with ocular hypertension. We found that RNFL-RGC VN ratio and arteriovenous (A-V) are capable of detecting early retinal alteration in ocular hypertensive eyes, preceding measurable change of RNFL thickness. This study suggests a potential clinical application of vnOCT in early detection of glaucoma.
Keywords: VN ratio; hemoglobin oxygen saturation; ocular hypertension; visible and near-infrared optical coherence tomography system.