Visible light optical coherence tomography measures retinal oxygen metabolic response to systemic oxygenation

Ji Yi, Wenzhong Liu, Siyu Chen, Vadim Backman, Nader Sheibani, Christine M. Sorenson, Amani A. Fawzi, Robert A. Linsenmeier, Hao F. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The lack of capability to quantify oxygen metabolism noninvasively impedes both fundamental investigation and clinical diagnosis of a wide spectrum of diseases including all the major blinding diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Using visible light optical coherence tomography (vis-OCT), we demonstrated accurate and robust measurement of retinal oxygen metabolic rate (rMRO2) noninvasively in rat eyes. We continuously monitored the regulatory response of oxygen consumption to a progressive hypoxic challenge. We found that both oxygen delivery, and rMRO2 increased from the highly regulated retinal circulation (RC) under hypoxia, by 0.28 ± 0.08 μL min-1 (p < 0.001), and 0.20 ± 0.04 μL min-1 (p < 0.001) per 100 mmHg systemic pO2 reduction, respectively. The increased oxygen extraction compensated for the deficient oxygen supply from the poorly regulated choroidal circulation. Results from an oxygen diffusion model based on previous oxygen electrode measurements corroborated our in vivo observations. We believe that vis-OCT has the potential to reveal the fundamental role of oxygen metabolism in various retinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere334
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Oxygen metabolism
  • Retinal circulation
  • Visible light optical coherence tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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