ABSTRACT.: Malfunction of retinal blood flow or oxygenation is believed to be involved in various diseases. Among them are retinal vessel occlusions, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Reliable, non-invasive technology for retinal oxygen measurements has been scarce and most of the knowledge on retinal oxygenation comes from animal studies. This thesis describes human retinal oximetry, performed with novel retinal oximetry technology. The thesis describes studies on retinal vessel oxygen saturation in (1) light and dark in healthy volunteers, (2) central retinal vein occlusion, (3) branch retinal vein occlusion, (4) central retinal artery occlusion, (5) diabetic retinopathy, (6) patients undergoing glaucoma surgery and (7) patients taking glaucoma medication. The retinal oximeter (Oxymap ehf., Reykjavik, Iceland) is based on a fundus camera. An attached image splitter allows the simultaneous capture of four images of the same area of the fundus. Two images are used for further analysis, one acquired with 586 nm light and one with 605 nm light. Light absorbance of retinal vessels is sensitive to oxygen saturation at 605 nm but not at 586 nm. Measurement of reflected light at these wavelengths allows estimation of oxygen saturation in the main retinal vessels. This is performed with custom-made analysis software. LIGHT AND DARK: After 30 min in the dark, oxygen saturation in retinal arterioles of healthy volunteers was 92 ± 4% (mean ± SD, n = 15). After 5 min in 80 cd/m(2) light, the arteriolar saturation was 89 ± 5%. The decrease was statistically significant (p = 0.008). The corresponding values for retinal venules were 60 ± 5% in the dark and 55 ± 10% in the light (p = 0.020). Similar results were found after alternating 5 min periods of darkness and light. In a second experiment (n = 19), a significant decrease in retinal vessel oxygen saturation was found in 100 cd/m(2) light compared with darkness but 1 and 10 cd/m(2) light had no significant effect. CENTRAL RETINAL VEIN OCCLUSION: In patients with central retinal vein occlusion, the mean saturation in affected retinal venules was 49 ± 12%, while the mean value for venules in the fellow eye was 65 ± 6% (mean ± SD, p = 0.003, n = 8). The retinal arteriolar saturation was the same in affected (99 ± 3%) and the unaffected (99 ± 6%) eyes. The venous oxygen saturation showed much variation between affected eyes. BRANCH RETINAL VEIN OCCLUSION: Median oxygen saturation in venules affected by branch retinal vein occlusion was 59% (range, 12-93%, n = 22), while it was 63% (23-80%) in unaffected venules in the affected eye and 55% (39-80%) in venules in the fellow eye. The difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). There was a significant difference between affected arterioles (median 101%; range, 89-115%) and unaffected arterioles (95%, 85-104%) in the affected eye (p < 0.05, n = 18). CENTRAL RETINAL ARTERY OCCLUSION: In a patient with a day's history of central retinal artery occlusion due to temporal arteritis, the mean arteriolar saturation was 71 ± 9% and 63 ± 9% in the venules. One month later, after treatment with prednisolone, the mean arteriolar saturation was 100 ± 4% and the venous saturation 54 ± 5%. DIABETIC RETINOPATHY: When compared with healthy volunteers (n = 31), patients with all categories of diabetic retinopathy had on average 7-10 percentage points higher saturation in retinal arterioles (p < 0.05 for all categories, n = 6-8 in each category). In venules, the saturation was 8-12 percentage points higher (p < 0.05 for all categories). GLAUCOMA SURGERY: Oxygen saturation in retinal arterioles increased by 2 percentage points on average (p = 0.046, n = 19) with surgery, which lowered intraocular pressure from 23 ± 7 mmHg (mean ± SD) to 10 ± 4 mmHg (p < 0.0001). No other significant changes were found (p ≥ 0.35). DORZOLAMIDE: A significant reduction of 3 percentage points was found in arterioles (p < 0.01) and venules (p < 0.05) when patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension changed from dorzolamide-timolol combination eye drops to timolol alone (n = 6). No change was found in patients, who started on timolol and switched to the combination therapy (p > 0.05, n = 7). Dual wavelength oximetry can be used to non-invasively measure retinal vessel oxygen saturation in health and disease. The results indicate that retinal vessel oxygen saturation is (1) increased in the dark, (2) lower in venules affected by central retinal vein occlusions, (3) variable in branch retinal vein occlusion, (4) lower in retinal arterioles in central retinal artery occlusion, (5) increased in diabetic retinopathy, (6-7) mildly affected by glaucoma surgery or dorzolamide.