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Documenta Ophthalmologica

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 217–246 | Cite as

Inter-individual variation in blood supply of the optic nerve head

Its importance in various ischemic disorders of the optic nerve head, and glaucoma, low-tension glaucoma and allied disorders
  • Sohan Singh Hayreh
Article

Abstract

There is no one standard pattern of the blood supply of the optic nerve head in all human eyes. There is a marked inter-individual variation in the blood supply of the optic nerve head, and the various factors which produce this include variations in (I) the anatomical pattern of blood supply, (II) the pattern of posterior ciliary artery (PCA) circulation (the main source of blood supply to the optic nerve head), and (III) the blood flow. The variations in the pattern of PCA circulation include the variations in (a) number of PCAs supplying an eye, (b) area of supply to the optic nerve head by each PCA, (c) location of the watershed zones between the various PCAs in relation to the optic nerve head, and (d) blood pressure in various PCAs as well as short PCAs. The variations in the blood flow in the optic nerve head can be produced by changes in (i) the intraocular pressure, (ii) mean blood pressure in the capillaries of the optic nerve head and (iii) peripheral vascular resistance. These variations are discussed in detail. A lack of appreciation of these complexities of the blood supply of the optic nerve head in health and disease is responsible for many of the current problems in the understanding of the role of vascular disturbances in anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, glaucoma, low-tension glaucoma and various ischemic disorders of the optic nerve head.

Key words

optic disc optic nerve head blood supply glaucoma anterior ischemic optic neuropathy posterior ciliary arteries choroid 

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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sohan Singh Hayreh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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