Investigating early pathophysiology of diabetic retinopathy through noninvasive retinal metabolic imaging

Project: Research project


Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a retinal vascular disorder, is a leading blindness causer. With no or late treatment, DR will lead to total vision loss; progression of DR can be stopped given immediate medical intervention at very early stage of DR. Early detection of DR is thus necessary for the immediate treatment. To date, variations of retinal blood flow, vessel size and oxygen saturation were reported at the very early stage of DR, which implies that early DR may be characterized by sublet change of retinal oxygen metabolic rate (MRO2). MRO2 detection requires retinal blood flow, retinal vessel size and retinal blood oxygen saturation (SO2). By now, the retinal MRO2 has never been accurately measured. One of the major reasons is the inaccuracy detection of SO2 in vivo through fundus photography, which suffers severely from light scattering. Herein I propose to measure retinal MRO2 by developing photoacoustic ophthalmoscopy (PAOM) combined with Doppler spectral domain optical coherence tomography (Doppler SD-OCT). The PAOM can provide high accurate SO2 in vivo since PAOM can directly detect the absorptivities of hemoglobin within blood; thus it’s less affected by the light scattering. The major retinal vessel size can also be extracted precisely from PAOM retinal image since PAOM is less affected by scattering. The Doppler SD-OCT can detect retinal blood flow velocity. In summary, precise measurement of MRO2 can be achieved in this study; this study is also important for understanding of the pathogenesis of DR.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/16


  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (59107977)


Diabetic Retinopathy
Retinal Vessels
Optical Coherence Tomography
Blood Flow Velocity