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J W McLaren, S Dinslage, J P Dillon, J E Roberts, R F Brubaker; Measuring oxygen tension in the anterior chamber of rabbits.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1998;39(10):1899-1909.
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PURPOSE: Measuring the concentration of oxygen in the aqueous humor without penetrating the eye would provide a new dimension in understanding aqueous humor and corneal dynamics. In this study a preinvasive method was developed for determining the cameral oxygen concentration in anesthetized rabbits by measuring the excited-state lifetime of a phosphorescent dye. METHODS: A scanning ocular fluorometer was designed to excite phosphorescence with a brief flash of light and to measure the decay of luminescence for as long as 1000 microsec after excitation. The measurement window was scanned through the depth of the anterior chamber or fixed at the mid-anterior chamber. A depot of the phosphorescent dye Pd-uroporphyrin was injected into the vitreous of eight pigmented rabbits, and within a few days the dye was measurable in the anterior chamber. The excited-state lifetime of this dye is inversely correlated to oxygen concentration and was calibrated by measuring the lifetime of dye in cuvettes equilibrated with oxygen-nitrogen mixtures. Oxygen tensions were determined from lifetimes measured in the open eye, under a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) contact lens, under two oxygen-permeable contact lenses, and immediately after lid closure. RESULTS: Oxygen tension in the mid-anterior chamber before placing a PMMA contact lens was 23 +/- 3 mm Hg (mean +/- SD; n = 6). After 20 minutes of PMMA lens wear, oxygen tension decreased to 4 +/- 2 mm Hg. When the focal diamond was scanned through the anterior chamber, oxygen tension was 24 +/- 5 mm Hg near the corneal endothelium and decreased to 17 +/- 8 mm Hg near the crystalline lens. Under the PMMA contact lens this gradient reversed: Oxygen tensions near the endothelium and lens were 3 +/- 2 mm Hg and 6 +/- 2 mm Hg, respectively. Lid closure for 10 minutes or longer decreased the mid-anterior chamber oxygen tension from 21 +/- 2 mm Hg (n = 19 measurements from seven animals) to 10 +/- 3 mm Hg (n = 15 measurements from five animals). CONCLUSIONS: Measuring excited-state lifetime of phosphorescent dyes in the anterior chamber provides a useful method for determining oxygen concentration in vivo, without penetrating the eye. Cameral oxygen tension under PMMA contact lenses are significantly lower than in the uncovered eye. The profile of oxygen tension through the anterior chamber suggests that oxygen is supplied transcorneally to the aqueous humor.
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