Amblyopia and Neurovascular Coupling in the Retina of Humans
The visual disorder of amblyopia affects 2% to 3% of the population. Amblyopia is a developmental condition that is characterized by reduced vision of the eye due to the presence of a sensory impediment during visual development, such as strabismus (ocular misalignment) or anisometropia (unequal refractive error), occurring early in life. Recent studies in humans and animals point towards a cortical locus for the processing deficit in amblyopia, revealing sensory deficits at the signal cell level that include reduced spatial resolution, reduced contrast sensitivity, and a reduced number of binocular neural cells. In the retina, however, no abnormalities have yet been reported.
Like in the brain blood flow in the retina is coupled to neuronal activity. This phenomenon has been measured by different study groups with non invasive techniques in the brain and retina. We therefore use a Zeiss fundus camera for the assessment of retinal vessel diameters. This so called retinal vessel analyzer (RVA) is a combination of a fundus camera connected to a high resolution video camera equipped with a software based analyzing system. An unprecedented reproducibility and sensitivity of retinal vessel diameter measurements is attained with this system. In addition this system allows real time analysis of retinal vessels as well as off-line determinations from video tape. A special provocation test, which minimizes risk and discomfort to the subject under study is applied through the illumination pathway of the fundus camera: Diffuse luminance flicker is used as a stimulus to augment intrinsic mechanisms by which the retina can vary the vascular supply, in correspondence with local variations of functional activity. This system allows to study the flicker response of retinal vessels, which is within a magnitude of 6 to 8%.
However, the exact mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not fully understood. Especially in the eye it is not clear whether it is an exclusive metabolic effect within the retina and the surrounding blood vessels or dependent of central regulatory brain functions.
The purpose of the current study is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying flicker evoked responses of retinal blood vessels in humans. It is not clear whether the retina of amblyopic eyes can regulate retinal blood flow in response to increased metabolic demands as induced during flicking light stimulation. A detail understanding of the metabolic and functional processes within the retina of patients with amblyopia is a prerequisite for further research to prevent amblyopia.
|Amblyopia Regional Blood Flow||Procedure: Flicker Procedure: Retinal Vessel Diameter Procedure: Retinal Blood Flow|
|Study Design:||Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
|Official Title:||Amblyopia and Neurovascular Coupling in the Retina of Humans|
- Retinal vessel diameter [ Time Frame: 10 minutes ]
- Time course of diameter changes induced by flicker light stimulation [ Time Frame: 10 minutes ]
|Study Start Date:||July 2003|
|Healthy Control Subjects||Procedure: Flicker Procedure: Retinal Vessel Diameter Procedure: Retinal Blood Flow|
|Subjects with amblyopia||Procedure: Flicker Procedure: Retinal Vessel Diameter Procedure: Retinal Blood Flow|
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00312390
|Department of Clinical Pharmacology|
|Vienna, Austria, 1090|
|Principal Investigator:||Gabriele Fuchsjaeger-Mayrl, MD||Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna|