This study determined (1) how many vessels (i.e., the vessel sampling) are needed to reliably characterize the bulbar conjunctival microvasculature
and (2) if characteristic information can be obtained from the distribution histogram
of the blood flow velocity and vessel diameter.
Functional slitlamp biomicroscope was used to image hundreds of venules per subject. The bulbar conjunctiva
in five healthy human subjects was imaged on six different locations in the temporal bulbar conjunctiva
. The histograms of the diameter and velocity were plotted to examine whether the distribution was normal. Standard errors were calculated from the standard deviation and vessel sample size
. The ratio of the standard error of the mean over the population mean was used to determine the sample size
cutoff. The velocity was plotted as a function of the vessel diameter to display the distribution of the diameter and velocity.
The results showed that the sampling size was approximately 15 vessels, which generated a standard error equivalent to 15% of the population mean from the total vessel population. The distributions of the diameter and velocity were not only unimodal, but also somewhat positively skewed and not normal. The blood flow velocity was related to the vessel diameter (r=0.23, P
This was the first study to determine the sampling size of the vessels and the distribution histogram
of the blood flow velocity and vessel diameter, which may lead to a better understanding of the human microvascular system of the bulbar conjunctiva