Regional changes in retinal blood flow following inferior and subsequent superior argon laser half fundus photocoagulation treatment were measured in six diabetic patients with advanced retinopathy. Centreline blood velocity, vessel diameter, and blood flow in major inferior and superior temporal retinal arteries were measured at baseline and following each treatment using the bidirectional laser Doppler technique and monochromatic fundus photography. Inferior fundus laser treatment produced a significant blood flow decrease in inferior temporal arteries ranging from 60% to 78%. Blood flow changes in superior temporal arteries were not significant, ranging from -7% to +14%. Subsequent superior fundus laser treatment produced a significant blood flow decrease in superior temporal arteries ranging from 50% to 66%. Subsequent blood flow changes in inferior temporal arteries were not significant, ranging from -19% to +21%. The results indicate that regional laser treatment produces a regional reduction in retinal blood flow, consistent with measurements of preretinal and intraretinal oxygen tension which have indicated increases in oxygen over photocoagulated regions.
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