Purpose: The pressure within the ophthalmic artery can be estimated by several noninvasive procedures based on measurements of the pressure either within the central retinal artery (CRA) or the brachial artery. In this study we compared 5 methods of deriving the mean pressure within the ophthalmic artery in 10 healthy volunteers 21 to 31 years of age.
Methods: The pressure within the ophthalmic artery was calculated from estimates of the systolic and diastolic pressures within the CRA derived by suction ophthalmodynamometry (s-ODM), compression ophthalmodynamometry (c-ODM), interpolation from scleral compression/intraocular pressure (IOP) conversion tables, and measurements of the brachial blood pressure (BP).
Results: Group average CRA pressure values varied significantly across techniques, with the largest difference among methods being about 15 mm Hg. CRA pressures derived by s-ODM or c-ODM and direct measurements of the IOP yielded statistically identical values. These latter values were significantly lower than CRA pressures estimated by either scleral compression/IOP conversion tables, or those predicted from brachial BP measurements with the arm held up alongside the head, both of which produced equivalent values. The highest estimates of CRA pressures were obtained when brachial BP values were derived with the arm in its normal anatomical position.
Conclusion: The patency of the vascular network to the eye and subsequent perfusion of intraocular neural tissue essential to normal visual function can be evaluated by simple clinical procedures. Although all techniques to estimate the pressure in the ophthalmic artery are relatively simple to use, they do not all yield the same absolute values and consequently should be interpreted in this light when used for either clinical or research purposes.