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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54207. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054207. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Analysis of pulsatile retinal movements by spectral-domain low-coherence interferometry: influence of age and glaucoma on the pulse wave.

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  • 1Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique-Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications, Varennes, Québec, Canada.


Recent studies have shown that ocular hemodynamics and eye tissue biomechanical properties play an important role in the pathophysiology of glaucoma. Nevertheless, better, non-invasive methods to assess these characteristics in vivo are essential for a thorough understanding of degenerative mechanisms. Here, we propose to measure ocular tissue movements induced by cardiac pulsations and study the ocular pulse waveform as an indicator of tissue compliance. Using a novel, low-cost and non-invasive device based on spectral-domain low coherence interferometry (SD-LCI), we demonstrate the potential of this technique to differentiate ocular hemodynamic and biomechanical properties. We measured the axial movement of the retina driven by the pulsatile ocular blood flow in 11 young healthy individuals, 12 older healthy individuals and 15 older treated glaucoma patients using our custom-made SD-OCT apparatus. The cardiac pulse was simultaneously measured through the use of an oximeter to allow comparison. Spectral components up to the second harmonic were obtained and analyzed. For the different cohorts, we computed a few parameters that characterize the three groups of individuals by analyzing the movement of the retinal tissue at two locations, using this simple, low-cost interferometric device. Our pilot study indicates that spectral analysis of the fundus pulsation has potential for the study of ocular biomechanical and vascular properties, as well as for the study of ocular disease.

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