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Kanishka R. Mendis, Chandrakumar Balaratnasingam, Paula Yu, Chris J. Barry, Ian L. McAllister, Stephen J. Cringle, Dao-Yi Yu; Correlation of Histologic and Clinical Images to Determine the Diagnostic Value of Fluorescein Angiography for Studying Retinal Capillary Detail. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(11):5864-5869. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-5333.
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To delineate morphometric and quantitative features of the capillary image derived from high-resolution fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) and consequently determine the diagnostic value of FFA for studying the retinal capillary circulation.
Retinal capillary images obtained from healthy young subjects using high-resolution FFA were compared with confocal scanning laser microscopic capillary images derived from the retinas of age-matched human donors. Confocal microscopic images were acquired from retinal flatmount tissue after central retinal artery cannulation, perfusion fixation, and antibody labeling. Capillary images from equivalent retinal regions were morphologically and quantitatively analyzed in both groups.
Ten human subjects (mean age, 27.4 years) were used for FFA studies, and five cadaveric eyes (mean donor age, 26.5 years) were used for histologic studies. In histologic specimens the density of the superficial capillary network was significantly greater than that of the deep capillary network. Despite use of a healthy young population, only 30% of high-resolution FFA studies provided clear capillary images. The configuration of the capillary network in FFA images was comparable to the superficial capillary network in confocal microscope images; however, the density of the capillary network in FFA images was consistently lower than that of histologic images.
FFA provides incomplete morphologic information about the superficial capillary network and even less information about the deep capillary network. Caution should, therefore, be exercised when using FFA data to extrapolate information about microvascular histopathologic processes. The usefulness of newer technology for studying retinal capillary detail should be investigated.
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