Predicting retinal tissue oxygenation using an image-based theoretical model

Brendan C. Fry, Ehren Brant Coburn, Spencer Whiteman, Alon Harris, Brent Siesky, Julia Arciero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Impaired oxygen delivery and tissue perfusion have been identified as significant factors that contribute to the loss of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma patients. This study predicts retinal blood and tissue oxygenation using a theoretical model of the retinal vasculature based on confocal microscopy images of the mouse retina. These images reveal a complex and heterogeneous geometry of vessels that are distributed non-uniformly into multiple distinct retinal layers at varying depths. Predicting oxygen delivery and distribution in this irregular arrangement of retinal microvessels requires the use of an efficient theoretical model. The model employed in this work utilizes numerical methods based on a Green's function approach to simulate the spatial distribution of oxygen levels in a network of retinal blood vessels and the tissue surrounding them. Model simulations also predict the blood flow rates and pressures in each of the microvessels throughout the entire network. As expected, the model predicts that average vessel PO2 decreases as oxygen demand is increased. However, the standard deviation of PO2 in the vessels nearly doubles as oxygen demand is increased from 1 to 8 cm3 O2/100 cm3/min, indicating a very wide spread in the predicted PO2 levels, suggesting that average PO2 is not a sufficient indicator of oxygenation in a heterogeneous vascular network. Ultimately, the development of this mathematical model will help to elucidate the important factors associated with blood flow and metabolism that contribute to the vision loss characteristic of glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMathematical Biosciences
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Glaucoma
  • Green's functions
  • Mathematical model
  • Microcirculation
  • Oxygenation
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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