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Ahmed M. Bata, Klemens Fondi, Stephan Szegedi, Gerold C. Aschinger, Anton Hommer, Doreen Schmidl, Jacqueline Chua, René M. Werkmeister, Gerhard Garhöfer, Leopold Schmetterer; Age-Related Decline of Retinal Oxygen Extraction in Healthy Subjects. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(8):3162-3169. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-26234.
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To investigate the age-dependence of total retinal blood flow and total retinal oxygen extraction in healthy subjects and determine their possible correlations with structural optical coherence tomography (OCT) parameters.
This observational cross-sectional study consisted of 68 healthy subjects (mean ± SD age, 45.6 ± 16.3 years; 47% female). Total retinal oxygen extraction was calculated based on measurement of total retinal blood flow using bi-directional Doppler OCT and measurement of oxygen saturation using spectroscopic reflectometry. Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness was measured using OCT, and the total number of retinal ganglion cells was estimated based on a previous published model. Correlation of these parameters with age was studied and the association between structural OCT parameters and hemodynamic vascular parameters was calculated.
Both structural and vascular parameters showed a significant decline with increasing age. The correlation coefficients were between r = −0.25 and r = −0.41. Furthermore, structural and vascular parameters were significantly correlated with each other. The strongest association was found between the level of total retinal oxygen extraction and the number of retinal ganglion cells (r = 0.75, P < 0.001).
We showed that there was an age-related decline of retinal oxygen extraction. Levels of retinal oxygen extraction are correlated to retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and number of retinal ganglion cells. Our data partially explain the wide inter-individual variability in retinal blood flow values in healthy subjects. Longitudinal studies are required to study the time course of vascular and neuronal loss in humans.
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