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Original article
Comparison of two probe designs for determining intraocular oxygen distribution
  1. Young-Hoon Park1,2,
  2. Ying-Bo Shui1,
  3. David C Beebe1,3
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  3. 3Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David C Beebe, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA; beebe{at}


Introduction Alterations in intraocular oxygen levels are important contributors to, or indications of, ocular disease. Polarographic electrodes and fibre-optic sensors (optodes) have been used to measure oxygen and to map the distribution of oxygen in animal models and in human eyes. A recent study reported the use of a commercial electrode to compare oxygen distribution in the vitreous of patients undergoing vitrectomy related to central retinal vein occlusion, macular hole or preretinal membrane. The results of this study were at variance with previous measures of oxygen distribution in the human vitreous using polarographic or optical sensors. To resolve this discrepancy, the present study compared measurements made in vitro or in animal eyes, using the electrode employed in the previous study or a fibre-optic sensor of a different design.

Study design Comparative in vitro and in vivo measurements.

Results In vitro, the two devices reported similar levels of oxygen, although the electrode consistently detected levels above the calculated values. In rabbit eyes, the electrode had a slow response time and was unable to detect oxygen gradients that were readily measured by the smaller optode. When the electrode was inserted into an eye of similar size to the human eye, the reference thermistor measured the temperature outside the eye, not in the vitreous.

Conclusions The design of the electrode used in the previous study makes it unsuitable for measurements of oxygen distribution in the eye.

  • Vitreous
  • physiology
  • experimental and laboratory

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  • Funding Research was supported by NIH grant EY015863 (DCB), the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and a fellowship from The Catholic University of Korea to Y-HP.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.