Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Diurnal Variation of Retinal Vessel Density in Healthy Human Eyes.

  • Author(s): Wu, Jo-Hsuan;
  • Penteado, Rafaella C;
  • Moghimi, Sasan;
  • Zangwill, Linda M;
  • Proudfoot, James A;
  • Weinreb, Robert N
  • et al.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


A small increase in optic nerve head vessel density (VD), but not macular VD, in the evening compared with the morning is observed in healthy subjects.


To evaluate the diurnal variation of the macular and optic nerve head (ONH) VD in healthy eyes as measured with optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A).


In this prospective study of healthy individuals older than 18 years old, VD parameters, including macular whole image vessel density, parafoveal vessel density, ONH whole image vessel density, ONH whole image capillary density, circumpapillary vessel density (cpVD), and circumpapillary capillary density, were measured with OCT-A at 4 time points throughout the day (8 am, 12 pm, 4 pm, and 8 pm).


Twenty-nine healthy eyes were included from 15 subjects (mean age: 30.9 y). After adjustment for age and mean ocular perfusion pressure, a significant positive rate of change was found for cpVD (0.05%/h; P=0.027). In contrast, macular VD changes were not significantly different. When comparing morning (8 am and 12 pm) and evening (4 pm and 8 pm) measurements, there were small, but statistically significant, increases for all ONH measurements. The greatest increase was found for cpVD (0.58%; P=0.022). Significant but small increases in mean arterial pressure and mean ocular perfusion pressure were also observed.


There was a small increase in ONH VD, but not macular VD, in the evening compared with the morning in healthy human eyes. As the observed difference was within the measurement variability, our results suggest the timing of OCT-A examination does not affect retinal VD measurements.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item