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Exp Eye Res. 2011 Sep;93(3):308-15. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2011.03.019. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

3D visualization of aqueous humor outflow structures in-situ in humans.

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Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Eye and Ear Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Aqueous humor (AH) exiting the eye via the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm's canal (SC) passes through the deep and intrascleral venous plexus (ISVP) or directly through aqueous veins. The purpose of this study was to visualize the human AH outflow system 360° in three dimensions (3D) during active AH outflow in a virtual casting. The conventional AH outflow pathways of 7 donor eyes were imaged with a modified Bioptigen spectral-domain optical coherence tomography system (Bioptigen Inc, USA; SuperLum LTD, Ireland) at a perfusion pressure of 20 mmHg (N = 3), and 10 mmHg (N = 4). In all eyes, 36 scans (3 equally distributed in each clock hour), each covering a 2 × 3 × 2 mm volume (512 frames, each 512 × 1024 pixels), were obtained. All image data were black/white inverted, and the background subtracted (ImageJ 1.40 g, Contrast was adjusted to isolate the ISVP. SC, collector channels, the deep and ISVP, and episcleral veins were observed throughout the limbus. Aqueous veins could be observed extending into the episcleral veins. Individual scan ISVP castings were rendered and assembled in 3D space in Amira 4.1 (Visage Imaging Inc. USA). A 360-degree casting of the ISVP was obtained in all perfused eyes. The ISVP tended to be dense and overlapping in the superior and inferior quadrants, and thinner in the lateral quadrants. The human AH outflow pathway can be imaged using SD-OCT. The more superficial structures of the AH outflow pathway present with sufficient contrast as to be optically isolated and cast in-situ 360° in cadaver eye perfusion models. This approach may be useful as a model in future studies of human AH outflow.

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