Biometric and physiological factors in human ocular perfusion
By addressing the vascular features that characterise myopia, this thesis aims to provide an understanding of the early structural changes associated with human myopia and the progression to co-morbidity with age. This thesis addresses three main areas of study: 1. Ocular perfusion features and autoregulatory mechanisms in human myopia; 2. Choroidal thickness at the macular area of myopic eyes; 3. Effect of chronic smoking on the ocular haemodynamics and autoregulation. This thesis demonstrated a reduced resting ocular pulse amplitude and retrobulbar blood flow in human myopia, associated with an apparent oversensitivity to the vasodilatory effects of hypercapnia, which may be due to anatomical differences in the volume of the vessel beds. In young smokers, normal resting state vascular characteristics were present; however there also appeared to be increased reactivity to hypercapnia, possibly due to relative chronic hypoxia. The systemic circulation in myopes and smokers over-reacted similarly to hypercapnia suggesting that physiologic differences are not confined to the eye. Age also showed a negative effect on autoregulatory capacity in otherwise normal eyes. Collectively, these findings suggest that myopes and smokers require greater autoregulatory capacity to maintain appropriate oxygenation of retinal tissue, and since the capacity for such regulation reduces with age, these groups are at greater risk of insufficient autoregulation and relative hypoxia with age.