In Vivo Imaging of Retinal and Choroidal Morphology and Vascular Plexuses of Vertebrates Using Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography

Ratheesh K. Meleppat, Christopher R. Fortenbach, Yifan Jian, Esteban Soto Martinez, Karen Wagner, Bobeck S. Modjtahedi, Monica J. Motta, Deepa L. Ramamurthy, Ivan R. Schwab, Robert J. Zawadzki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To perform in vivo evaluation of the structural morphology and vascular plexuses of the neurosensory retina and choroid across vertebrate species using swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) and SS-OCT angiography (SS-OCTA) imaging. Methods: A custom-built SS-OCT system with an incorporated flexible imaging arm was used to acquire the three-dimensional (3D) retinal OCT and vascular OCTA data of five different vertebrates: a mouse (C57BL/6J), a rat (Long Evans), a gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica), a white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), and a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). Results: In vivo structural morphology of the retina and choroid, as well as en face OCTA images of retinal and choroidal vasculature of all species were generated. The retinal morphology and vascular plexuses were similar between rat and mouse, whereas distinct choroidal and paired superficial vessels were observed in the opossum retina. The retinal and vascular structure of the sturgeon, as well as the pecten oculi and overly-ing the avascular and choroidal vasculature in the owl retina are reported in vivo. Conclusions: A high-quality two-dimensional and 3D in vivo visualization of the retinal structures and en face visualization of the retina and choroidal vascular plexus of vertebrates was possible. Our studies affirm that SS-OCT and SS-OCTA are viable methods for evaluating the in vivo retinal and choroidal structure across terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial vertebrates. Translational Relevance: In vivo characterization of retinal morphology and vascula-ture plexus of multiple species using SS-OCT and SS-OCTA imaging can increase the pool of species available as models of human retinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Choroid
  • OCTA
  • Retina
  • Swept-source Optical coherence tomography
  • vertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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