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A new hand-held bidirectional ocular laser Doppler system for measurement of red blood cell (RBC) velocity in retinal vessels and blood flow in the optic nerve head tissue and in the choriocapillaris is described. Laser power at the cornea is below the maximum permissible level. The instrument is based on the well-established laser Doppler velocimetry/flowmetry techniques. The optical systems for the delivery of the probing laser beam to the eye fundus and bidirectional detection of the light scattered by the RBCs have been implemented in a portable Kowa Genesis fundus camera. In vitro experiments demonstrate the performance of the instrument and in vivo measurements illustrate the feasibility of retinal blood velocity and choriocapillaris blood flow measurements in awake volunteers. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.
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