Purpose: To investigate gold nanorods (GNRs) as a contrast agent to enhance Doppler optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of the intrascleral aqueous humor outflow. Methods: A serial dilution of GNRs was scanned with a spectral-domain OCT device (Bioptigen, Durham, NC) to visualize Doppler signal. Doppler measurements using GNRs were validated using a controlled flow system. To demonstrate an application of GNR enhanced Doppler, porcine eyes were perfused at constant pressure with mock aqueous alone or 1.0×10 12 GNR/mL mixed with mock aqueous. Twelve Doppler and volumetric SD-OCT scans were obtained from the limbus in a radial fashion incremented by 30°, forming a circular scan pattern. Volumetric flow was computed by integrating flow inside non-connected vessels throughout all 12 scans around the limbus. Results: At the GNR concentration of 0.7×1012 GNRs/mL, Doppler signal was present through the entire depth of the testing tube without substantial attenuation. A well-defined laminar flow profile was observed for Doppler images of GNRs flowing through the glass capillary tube. The Doppler OCT measured flow profile was not statistically different from the expected flow profile based upon an autoregressive moving average model, with an error of -0.025 to 0.037 mm/s (p = 0.6435). Cross-sectional slices demonstrated the ability to view anterior chamber outflow ex-vivo using GNR-enhanced Doppler OCT. Doppler volumetric flow measurements were comparable to flow recorded by the perfusion system. Conclusions: GNRs created a measureable Doppler signal within otherwise silent flow fields in OCT Doppler scans. Practical application of this technique was confirmed in a constant pressure ex-vivo aqueous humor outflow model in porcine eyes.
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