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Purpose: This study aimed to assess differences in the relationship between structural parameters and ocular blood flow between persons of African (AD) and European descent (ED) with healthy eyes.

Methods: The relationship between structural and ocular blood flow parameters was assessed in 46 participants (20 AD, 26 ED) with healthy eyes. Disc area (DA), rim area (RA), and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness were measured. Retrobulbar blood flow was assessed in the ophthalmic (OA), central retinal (CRA), nasal (NPCA) and temporal short posterior ciliary arteries (TPCA). Peak systolic velocity (PSV), end diastolic velocity (EDV) and resistive index (RI) were assessed. Retinal capillary blood flow was also evaluated. Differences between the correlations were determined using the Fisher r-to-z transformation.

Results: Significant differences in correlations were observed between the AD and ED groups in the CRA, where PSV and DA were positively correlated in AD (r=0.43) and negatively correlated in ED (r=-0.36) (Δr=0.79; P=0.01). A similar finding was observed for PSV and RA (AD: r=0.39; ED: r=-0.23; Δr=0.62; P=0.04). In the inferior hemifield for ED group only, percentage of avascular space and RNFL thickness were positively correlated (r=0.51, P=0.01) and mean retinal flow and RNFL thickness were negatively correlated (r=-0.50, P=0.01).

Conclusion: The relationship between structural parameters and the blood supply to the superficial layer of the retina was significantly different in the healthy eyes of AD compared to ED. More research is required to show how these differences may affect glaucomatous risk.