A major physiologic role for the high flow choroidal vasculature is to help maintain a stable temperature in the macula. The choroidal vasculature modulates tissue temperature in the macula via both active and passive mechanisms. The active mechanisms involve a reflexive increase in choroidal blood flow in response to light. The neuro-anatomical pathways mediating this reflexive mechanism have been demonstrated to involve the supra-chiasmatic and the Edinger-Westphal nuclei.
The importance of the thermal environment for the retina has been neglected in looking for causes of retinal disease. The observations on the ability of the choroidal circulation to modulate the thermal environment of the macula should excite further study of the role of temperature and the ability of the eye to dissipate light-generated heat on macula disease.
Alm A and Bill A : Ocular and optic nerve blood flow at normal and increased intraocular pressures in monkeys. Exp Eye Res 1973, 15: 15.
Alm A and Bill A : The oxygen supply to the retina. Ill effects of high intraocular pressure and of increased carbon dioxide tension on uveal and retinal blood flow in cats. Acta Physiol Scand 1972, 84: 306.
Parver LM, Auker C, Carpenter DO : Choroidal blood flow as a heat dissipating mechanism in the macula. Am J Ophthalmol 1980, 89: 641–6.
Geeraets WJ, Williams RC, Chan G, Ham WT, Guerry D, Schmidt FH : The loss of light in the retina and choroid. Arch Ophthalmol 1960, 64: 158.
Auker CR, Parver LM, Doyle T, Carpenter DO : Choroidal blood flow: I. Ocular tissue temperature as a measure of flow. Arch Ophthalmol 1982, 100: 1323–6.
Parver LM, Auker CR, Carpenter DO, Doyle T : Choroidal blood flow: II. Reflexive control in the monkey. Arch Ophthalmol 1982, 100: 1327–30.
Parver LM, Auker CR, Carpenter DO : Choroidal blood flow: III. Reflexive control in human eyes. Arch Ophthalmol 1983, 101: 1604–6.
Gamlin PDR, Reiner A, Karten HJ : Substance P-containing neurons of the avian supra-chiasmatic nucleus project directly to the nucleus of Edinger-Westphal. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1982, 79: 3891–5.
Reiner A, Fitzgerald MEC, Gamlin PDR : Central neural circuits controlling choroidal blood flow: a laser Doppler study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci (in press).
Fitzgerald MEC and Reiner A : Light-mediated reflexive control of choroidal blood flow in the pigeon eye. Neurosciences 1990 (Abs).
Noell WK, Walker VS, Kang BS, Berman S : Retinal damage by light in rats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1966, 5: 459.
Ham WT, Mueller HA, Ruffolo JJ, Clarke AM : Sensitivity of the retina to radiation damage as a function of wavelength.
Vos JJ : A theory of retinal burns. Bull Math Biophys 1962, 24: 115.
Kornzweig A : Changes in the choriocapillaris associated with senile macular degeneration. Ann Ophthalmol 1977, 9: 753.
Hogan MJ and Zimmerman LE : Ophthalmic Pathology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1962: 408–409.
About this article
Cite this article
Parver, L. Temperature modulating action of choroidal blood flow. Eye 5, 181–185 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1038/eye.1991.32
- choroidal blood flow
- intraocular temperatures
- macular blood flow
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology (2021)
Evaluation of white matter hyperintensities and retinal fiber layer, ganglion cell layer, inner-plexiform layer, and choroidal layer in migraine patients
Neurological Sciences (2018)
Scientific Reports (2017)
Annals of Biomedical Engineering (2017)