Purpose: Myogenic autoregulation is the ability of a vascular bed to maintain blood flow despite changes in perfusion pressure. Ocular perfusion pressure is defined as the difference between ocular arterial pressure and ocular venous pressure, the latter dependent on intraocular pressure (IOP). The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of moderate increases in IOP on ocular haemodynamics.
Methods: Changes in IOP (+ 10 mmHg, +20 mmHg) were induced by a suction cup in 10 healthy subjects. Ocular fundus pulsations in the macula and the optic disc were measured by laser interferometry; blood flow velocities in the central retinal artery (CRA) and in the ophthalmic artery (OA) were measured by Doppler sonography.
Results: Changes in IOP caused a significant reduction in fundus pulsations, which was more pronounced in the macula (at +10 mmHg: -9 +/- 2%, p < 0.01; at +20 mmHg: -19 +/- 3%, p < 0.001) than in the optic disc (at +10 mmHg: -5 +/- 2% (ns); at +20 mmHg: -9 +/- 3%, p < 0.01). Mean flow velocity in the CRA was reduced by -5 +/- 3% at +10 mmHg (ns) and by -14 +/- 5% at +20 mmHg (p < 0.005), resistive index was increased by +4 +/- 1% at +10 mmHg (p < 0.05) and by +6 +/- 2% at +20 mmHg (p < 0.01). In contrast, a rise in IOP did not affect blood flow parameters in the OA.
Conclusions: Our results from fundus pulsation measurements indicate that choroidal blood flow decreases when IOP is increased. The Doppler sonographic findings in the CRA indicate reduced blood flow velocity in this artery during raised IOP.