Background: Two different techniques are available for measurement of macular capillary particle velocities. The psychophysical blue field simulation technique gives data on macular leukocyte flow velocities, while the scanning laser technique provides information on capillary blood velocities of hypofluorescent segments in the macular network. Published velocity data differ considerably between the two methods. The current study was undertaken to compare the two measuring techniques in a group of healthy volunteers.
Methods: Thirty-two healthy subjects (12 man, 20 women, mean age 27 years) participated in this study. All subjects underwent entoptic leukocyte visualization by means of blue field simulation followed by fluorescein angiography using scanning laser ophthalmoscopy.
Results: The capillary blood velocities measured using the scanning laser technique were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than the flow velocities estimated with the blue field simulation technique (2.68 +/- 0.3 mm/s vs 0.89 +/- 0.2 mm/s). No significant correlation between the flow velocities was found (r = -0.22).
Conclusion: The differences may be related to different measuring locations and/or measurements of different phenomena. The blue field technique estimates average leukocyte flow in the macular network, whereas the scanning laser technique quantifies the velocity of erythrocyte aggregates in the capillary lumen of the para- and perifoveal network. A combination of both techniques may be helpful in interpreting physiological responsiveness and altered velocity pattern in diseased eyes.