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Ocular Microcirculation Laboratory

Investigating how microcirculation and blood flow autoregulation damages the eye


The Ocular Microcirculation Laboratory was established 20 years ago to initiate a novel hypothesis considering microcirculation abnormality as one of the important risk factors in contribution to glaucomatous optic neuropathy. The early studies focused on the microvascular anatomy and the relationship of ischemia and optic nerve damage. In the last decade research interests have been expanded to also investigate the basic mechanism of blood flow autoregulation with a particular interest on the role of glial cells.

Research Focus:

Under the direction of Lin Wang, MD, PhD, the Ocular Microcirculation Laboratory focuses on vascular physiology and its relationship with glaucoma. Current projects include:

  • Testing the hypothesis that blood flow autoregulation dysfunction is a principle contributing mechanism to visual system damage in glaucoma, and blood flow deficiency in the optic nerve.

  • Exploring and advancing different techniques for blood flow measurement and assessment of autoregulatory capacity in the optic nerve, which may translate for clinical application.

  • Investigating the role of glial cells in blood flow autoregulation - in collaboration with Dr. Brad Fortune, Legacy Research Institute, and Dr. Bang V. Bui, University of Melbourne, Australia.


Major funding for research projects in the Ocular Microcirculation Laboratory comes from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health; additional support is provided by Legacy Good Samaritan Foundation.

Project Title: The role of retinal astrocytes in dynamic blood flow autoregulation

Sponsor: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
Principal Investigator: Lin Wang, MD, PhD From/To: 2017 - 2020
Project Narrative:
This project will establish a novel role for astrocytes in maintaining hemodynamic homeostasis in the retina and optic nerve head. We believe that this is a mechanism of hemodynamic control that exists in both the eyes and the brain. The outcomes will also generate hypotheses for future studies of novel therapeutic targets in diseases associated with autoregulation dysfunction, including glaucoma.