Clinical investigation of the combination of a scanning laser ophthalmoscope and laser Doppler flowmeter

Ger J Ophthalmol. 1995 Nov;4(6):342-9.


In this report we present the clinical applications of a new noninvasive method of imaging in high definition the topography of perfused retinal vessels. By the combination of a laser Doppler Flowmeter with a scanning laser system the retinal circulation can be visualized and quantified. The principles of measuring blood flow by laser Doppler flowmetry are based on the laser Doppler effect: laser light scattered by a moving particle is shifted in frequency. The scanning laser system is a modified laser scanning tomograph (technical data: retinal area of measurement, 2.7 x 0.7 mm; 10 degrees field with 256 points x 64 lines; horizontal digital resolution, 10 microns; wave-length, 670 nm; light power, 100 micro W; data acquisition time, 2.048 s). Every line is scanned 128-times at a line-sampling rate of 4000 Hz. By the performance of discrete fast fourier transformation over 128 intensities of each retinal point the laser Doppler shift is calculated for each retinal point. With these data a 2-dimensional map of the retinal perfusion with 256 x 64-points is created. The brightness of the picture point is coded by the value of the Doppler shift. By this method we examined health eyes with normal intraocular pressure (IOP) and artificially increased IOP and eyes with glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy, proliferative diabetic retinopathy with areas of capillary occlusion, arterial hypertension with microinfarction of the retina, and central retinal artery occlusion. The application of "scanning laser Doppler flowmetry" (SLDF) leads to the visualization of perfused vessels and capillaries of the retina in high resolution. The examination of perfused retinal arterioles, veins, and capillaries by this method represents the anatomical situation. In SLDF the area of normal or impaired retinal circulation becomes visible (capillary nonperfusion, proliferative vascular structures), whereby the extent of the perfusion is proportional to the brightness of the imaged vessel; the brighter the vessels or capillaries, the higher the blood flow inside the vessels. Retinal areas with low capillary flow are "dark" and show no visible vessel. In imaging of an eye with central retinal artery occlusion, retinal arterioles, veins, or capillaries were invisible due to the lack of retinal perfusion. Only ciliary-source vessels of the optic nerve head were bright and visible, indicating normal ciliary circulation. SLDF facilitates the visualization of perfused retinal capillaries and vessels in high resolution. The representation of the function of the retinal circulation by SLDF leads to an image similar to the anatomical situation. The two-dimensional mapping of local blood flow leads to a physiological picture of the retinal perfusion with visible vessels and capillaries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Capillaries / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / pathology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry*
  • Lasers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ocular Hypertension / pathology
  • Ocular Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Ophthalmoscopes*
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology
  • Optic Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Optic Disk / blood supply*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / pathology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / physiopathology
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology
  • Retinal Vessels / physiology*
  • Retinal Vessels / physiopathology