Visualization of the retinal microvasculature by targeted dye delivery

R. C. Zeimer, T. Guran, M. Shahidi, M. T. Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although fluorescein angiography has proven to be an important tool in the diagnosis and management of retinal vascular diseases, it is subject to certain limitations, namely the presence of the choroidal background, which usually precludes a detailed examination of the retinal microvasculature. Moreover, the inability to repeat the bolus reduces the chance of obtaining high-quality photographs of early phases, and does not allow for a complete binocular examination or for testing the response to induced physiologic changes. We have developed a method of targeted dye delivery that consists of encapsulating the dye in lipid vesicles, injecting them intravenously, and causing them to release their contents locally when a short heat pulse is induced in a retinal artery by a laser. This method was applied in the rhesus monkey in order to visualize the retinal microvasculature. A well-defined bolus and absence of background fluorescence permitted both following of the dye front through the vasculature and clear imaging of the capillary network over the whole posterior pole. The bolus delivery could be repeated as many as 100 times in 45 min without significant loss of contrast. The comparison of these results with conventional fluorescein angiography illustrated the advantage of the new method. The examination of the safety of the delivery system indicates that here is no major obstacle to the eventual application to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1459-1465
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • angiography
  • dye delivery
  • liposomes
  • microvasculature
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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