To assess the connection among arterioles, venules, and capillaries in three retinal capillary plexuses using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).
This was a prospective, cross-sectional, observational study including 20 eyes of 10 healthy subjects. En face and cross-sectional OCTA images were segmented to study the superficial (SCP), middle (MCP), and deep capillary plexuses (DCP). Using thin slabs and manual segmentation within the three plexuses, we examined the connections between the large-caliber superficial vessels within a 3 × 3 mm 2 OCTA scan (arterioles and venules) and the smaller capillaries in each plexus.
Twenty eyes of 10 healthy subjects (5 females; average age of 30.8 ± 6.3 years) were included in the analysis. We identified vascular interconnections linking the superficial arterioles and venules with capillaries in each plexus (SCP, MCP, and DCP). We found capillaries in the DCP crossed the horizontal raphe.
Our findings show that each of the three capillary plexuses in the parafovea has its own feeding arteriolar supply and draining venules, supporting a physiologic model in which each plexus controls its own oxygenated blood supply to match the metabolic needs of each distinct retinal neurovascular unit.