Visibility of microvessels in Optical Coherence Tomography angiography depends on angular orientation

Jun Zhu, Marcel T. Bernucci, Conrad W. Merkle, Vivek J. Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Optical Coherence Tomography angiography (OCTA) is a widespread tool for depth-resolved imaging of chorioretinal vasculature with single microvessel resolution. To improve the clinical interpretation of OCTA, the conditions affecting visualization of microvessels must be defined. Here we inject a scattering plasma tracer (Intralipid) during OCTA imaging of the anesthetized rat eye. In the retina, we find that interlaminar (vertical) vessels that connect laminae have one-fourth to one-third the OCTA red blood cell to tracer (RBC-to-tracer) signal ratio of intralaminar (horizontal) vessels. This finding suggests that the OCTA signal from microvessels depends on angular orientation, making vertically-oriented vessels more difficult to visualize using intrinsic contrast alone. Clinicians should be aware of this potential artifact when interpreting OCTA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • angular dependence
  • optical coherence tomography; angiography
  • retina; choroid
  • scattering
  • vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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