The retinal arterial network structure can be altered by systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In order to compare the energy requirement for maintaining retinal blood flow and vessel wall metabolism between normal and hypertensive subjects, 3D hypothetical models of a representative retinal arterial bifurcation were constructed based on topological features derived from retinal images. Computational analysis of blood flow was performed, which accounted for the non-Newtonian rheological properties of blood and peripheral vessel resistance. The results suggested that the rate of energy required to maintain the blood flow and wall metabolism is much lower for normal subjects than for hypertensives, with the latter requiring 49.2% more energy for an entire retinal arteriolar tree. Among the several morphological factors, length-to-diameter ratio was found to have the most significant influence on the overall energy requirement.

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