Pulsatile ocular blood flow in untreated diabetic retinopathy

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1997 Dec;75(6):661-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0420.1997.tb00626.x.


Purpose: To measure the pulsatile component of total ocular blood flow in patients with untreated diabetic retinopathy.

Subjects and methods: An adapted pneumotonometer attached to a slit-lamp biomicroscope. 82 age-matched subjects divided into 4 groups: non-diabetic controls (n = 22); diabetics with no clinical retinopathy (n = 20); background diabetic retinopathy (n = 20); pre-proliferative/proliferative diabetic retinopathy (n = 20).

Results: The mean pulsatile ocular blood flow values were found to be increased in all grades of diabetic retinopathy (no retinopathy 818 microl/min, background 1015 microl/min, pre-proliferative/proliferative 1097 microl/min) compared to the control group (644 microl/min). These pulsatile ocular blood flow values were significantly higher (p<0.05) in the background and pre-proliferative/proliferative retinopathy groups compared to controls. Pulse volume and pulse amplitude were also higher in the diabetic subjects. Mean arterial blood pressure did not differ across the groups studied.

Conclusion: Pulsatile ocular blood flow was found to be higher in diabetics compared to controls and appears to increase as the severity of retinopathy progresses. Such a hyperdynamic circulation may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic eye disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology*
  • Eye / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sphygmomanometers