A Fundamental Study using High-Speed Photography of the Sclera to Observe Capillary Blood Flow

Jiamao Li and Xiaolin Zhang


blood capillary, peripheral blood vessel, blood flow velocity, fixational eye movements


In clinical application, information about various diseases, such as diabetes, myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction, can be obtained from the peripheral blood vessels and their blood flow. Observing peripheral blood vessels and their blood flow yields important information in clinical practice. A novel device for noninvasively observing peripheral blood vessels and their blood flow using high-speed photography of the surface of the sclera was developed in our laboratory. The peripheral vasculature of the sclera was directly observed using our device. Utilising phase-only correlation to detect the displacement of blood vessels, we eliminated the effects of fixational eye movements to stabilise the sclera images. Morphological operations were then applied to segment the data locally and to extract the shape of the blood vessels. High-speed optical flow generation with the steepest descent method was used to detect the velocity of the red cells flowing in the blood vessels. A variety of experiments verified the validity of our novel method for observing capillary blood flow.

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