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Doppler Ultrasound Techniques at High Frequency to Estimate Blood Flow in Microvessels of the Human Eye


Glaucoma is the most frequent reason for ophthalmic visits among persons over the age of 65. Glaucoma is the end result of a variety of diseases and is analogous to heart failure or liver failure, each of which can result from a number of different causes. These causes are still not completely understood and glaucoma remains a disease of unknown aetiology and inadequate treatment. Elevated interlobular Pressure was identified as the primary risk factor for the illness over 100 years ago, but other studies demonstrated that other factors might be responsible for disease progression in glaucoma. These other risk factors have only begun to be explored in the past decade. Among these factors, blood flow was demonstrated to be responsible for its progression. Measurements of the ocular blood flow, however, have been limited to the main vessels of the eye. Blood flow within important but very small structures of the eye such as iris and ciliary’s body have been poorly investigated. The vessels in these structures are very small and cannot be resolved using conventional imaging modalities for the eye. A high frequency ultrasound scanner dedicated to ophthalmology is being developed by an SME (OPTIKON 2000) in collaboration with an academic institution (ACULAB). To measure the blood velocities and to display a colour map of the flow within the structures of the eye, Pulse Wave and Colour Doppler techniques will be developed. These techniques will then be implemented in a high frequency ultrasound scanner dedicated to ophthalmology. This ultrasound scanner will be commercially available.

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