Choroidal blood flow decreases with age: An MRI study

Oscar San Emeterio Nateras, Joseph M. Harrison, Eric R. Muir, Yi Zhang, Qi Peng, Steven Chalfin, Juan E. Gutierrez, Daniel A. Johnson, Jeffrey W. Kiel, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: To verify that a visual fixation protocol with cued eye blinks achieves sufficient stability for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) blood-flow measurements and to determine if choroidal blood flow (ChBF) changes with age in humans.

Methods: The visual fixation stability achievable during an MRI scan was measured in five normal subjects using an eye-tracking camera outside the MRI scanner. Subjects were instructed to blink immediately after recorded MRI sound cues but to otherwise maintain stable visual fixation on a small target. Using this fixation protocol, ChBF was measured with MRI using a 3 Tesla clinical scanner in 17 normal subjects (24-68 years old). Arterial and intraocular pressures (IOP) were measured to calculate perfusion pressure in the same subjects.

Results: The mean temporal fluctuations (standard deviation) of the horizontal and vertical displacements were 29 ± 9 μm and 38 ± 11 μm within individual fixation periods, and 50 ± 34 μm and 48 ± 19 μm across different fixation periods. The absolute displacements were 67 ± 31 μm and 81 ± 26 μm. ChBF was negatively correlated with age (R = -0.7, p = 0.003), declining 2.7 ml/100 ml/min per year. There were no significant correlations between ChBF versus perfusion pressure, arterial pressure, or IOP. There were also no significant correlations between age versus perfusion pressure, arterial pressure, or IOP. Multiple regression analysis indicated that age was the only measured independent variable that was significantly correlated with ChBF (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: The visual fixation protocol with cued eye blinks was effective in achieving sufficient stability for MRI measurements. ChBF had a significant negative correlation with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1067
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Choroidal basal blood flow
  • eigh-resolution MRI
  • eye tracking
  • visual fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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