Purpose: To investigate the effect of ageing on the recovery of ocular blood flow, intravitreal oxygen tension and retinal function during and after intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation. Methods: Long Evans rats (3- and 14-month-old) underwent acute stepwise IOP elevation from 10 to 120 mmHg (5 mmHg steps each 3 minutes). IOP was then returned to baseline and recovery was monitored for 2 hours. Photopic electroretinograms (ERG) were recorded at each IOP step during stress and at each minute during recovery. Ocular blood flow and vitreal oxygen tension (pO2) were assayed continuously and simultaneously using a combined laser Doppler flow meter (LDF) and an oxygen sensitive fibre-optic probe, respectively. The combined sensor was placed in the vitreous chamber, proximal to the retina. Data were binned into 3 minute intervals during stress and 1 min intervals during recovery. Recovery data was described using a bi-logistic function. Results: Rats of both ages showed similar susceptibility to IOP elevation, with pO2 showing a closer relationship to ERG than LDF. During recovery, both ages showed a distinctive two-phased recovery for all three measures with the exception of the LDF in 3-month-old rats, which showed only 1 phase. In all animals, LDF recovered fastest (<1 minute), followed by pO2 (<10 minute) and ERG (>1 hour). 14-month-old rats showed surprisingly faster and greater LDF recovery compared to the younger group, with similar levels of pO2 recovery. However, the ERG in these middle-aged animals did not fully recover after two hours, despite showing no difference in susceptibility to IOP during stress compared to the young group. Conclusions: Young and middle-aged eyes showed similar susceptibility to IOP elevation in terms of pO2, LDF and ERG. Despite this lack of difference during stress, older eyes did not completely recover function, suggesting a more subtle age-related susceptibility to IOP.
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- blood flow
- blood pressure