Adequate function of the retina is dependent on proper oxygen supply. In humans, the inner retina is oxygenated via the retinal circulation. We present a method to calculate total retinal oxygen extraction based on measurement of total retinal blood flow using dual-beam bidirectional Doppler optical coherence tomography and measurement of oxygen saturation by spectrophotometry. These measurements were done on 8 healthy subjects while breathing ambient room air and 100% oxygen. Total retinal blood flow was 44.3 ± 9.0 μl/min during baseline and decreased to 18.7 ± 4.2 μl/min during 100% oxygen breathing (P < 0.001) resulting in a pronounced decrease in retinal oxygen extraction from 2.33 ± 0.51 μl(O 2)/min to 0.88 ± 0.14 μl(O 2)/min during breathing of 100% oxygen. The method presented in this paper may have significant potential to study oxygen metabolism in hypoxic retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.
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