The Cytoscan<sup>TM</sup> Model E-II (Cytometrics Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., USA) is a newly developed instrument which functions as an intravital microscope and is small and easily portable. Through the use of orthogonal polarization spectral (OPS) imaging, the Cytoscan Model E-II delivers images of the microcirculation which are comparable to those achieved with intravital fluorescence videomicroscopy (IFM), but without the use of fluorescent dyes. The purpose of this study was to validate the Cytoscan Model E-II instrument against IFM. The experiments were carried out on striated muscle in the dorsal skinfold chamber of the awake Syrian hamster. The following parameters were measured in identical regions of interest in the same animal under baseline conditions and 0.5 and 2 h after a 4-hour period of pressure-induced ischemia: arteriolar diameter, venular diameter and venular red blood cell velocity. Bland-Altman plots showed good agreement between the two techniques for venular red blood cell velocity. As expected, arteriolar and venular diameters as measured by the Cytoscan were on average 5 µm smaller than the values from IFM, since the Cytoscan measures the red blood cell column width and IFM measures luminal diameter. Thus, OPS imaging can be used to make valid measurements of microvascular diameter and red blood cell velocity in tissues.