Technique for noninvasive monitoring of blood loss via oxygen saturation measurements in the eye

Matthew H. Smith, Kurt R. Denninghoff, Lloyd W. Hillman, Charles E. Hughes, Thomas E. Minnich, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We describe a noninvasive technique and instrumentation (the eye oximeter) for measuring the oxygen saturation of blood in retinal arteries and veins. A white-light image of a subject s retina is presented to an operator. The operator targets a particular retinal artery or vein and initiates the measurement procedure. The measurements are made by scanning low-power lasers into the eye and across the retinal vessel. The light reflected and scattered back out of the eye is collected and measured. The oxygen saturation of blood within the vessel is spectroscopically determined by analyzing the vessel absorption profiles at two or more wavelengths. A complete saturation measurement can be made in less than one second, allowing real-time measurement during physiologic changes. The sensitivity of this measurement technique to changes in retinal saturation has been demonstrated through a series of pilot studies in anesthetized swine. We present data indicating that retinal venous oxygen saturation decreases predicably during ongoing blood loss, indicating a potential application of an eye oximeter to noninvasively monitor blood loss. Current invasive techniques for monitoring bleeding, such as fiber optic pulmonary catheters, are not suited for use early in trauma situations. A portable eye oximeter may therefore provide a new technique for reducing mortality in the emergency department setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
EventProceedings of Optical Diagnostics of Biological Fluids and Advanced Techniques in Analytical Cytology - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 11 1997Feb 14 1997


  • Blood loss
  • Eye
  • Oximetry
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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