An Automated Method of Quantifying Retinal Vascular Responses during Exposure to Novel Environmental Conditions

Richard T. Meehan, Gerald R. Taylor, Paul Rock, Thomas H. Mader, Norwood Hunter, Allen Cymerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The width of retinal arteries and veins was measured by digital image analysis using an automated vessel-tracking software program. Mean coefficients of variations in vessel width of less than 3% were easily achieved from digitized 35-mm retinal photographs taken with a table-top or hand-held fundus camera. Retinal images were analyzed from seven subjects exposed to sea level or altitudes equivalent to 10,000 (3048 m), 17,500 (5334 m), and 25,000 (7620 m) ft and nine subjects exposed to sea level and 14,110 ft (4300 m). At each altitude, retinal veins dilated more than did arteries (5 ± 1% versus 0 ± 1% at 10,000 ft and 28 ± 9% versus 9 ± 2% at 25,000 ft; veins versus arteries, respectively). However, widths of retinal arteries and veins were reduced in nine subjects tested after 15 minutes, 24 hours, and 48 hours of 10° head-down tilt; and values varied inversely with intraocular pressures (IOP). Hand-held retinal fundus photography and digital image analysis were found to provide a sensitive and objective method for detecting and quantifying retinal vascular responses in humans exposed to novel environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-881
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990


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