Sonographic ophthalmic examinations have become increasingly important in veterinary medicine. If the velocity of ultrasound in ocular tissues is known, the A-mode ultrasound method may be used to determine the axial intraocular distances, such as anterior chamber depth, lens thickness, axial length of the vitreous and axial globe length, which are required for intraocular lens (IOL) power calculations. To the authors' knowledge, the velocity of ultrasound in the ocular tissues of the horse was not previously determined. In the present study, 33 lenses, 29 samples of aqueous and 31 of vitreous from 35 healthy equine eyes have been examined. The corresponding ultrasound velocities are reported in dependence of age, temperature, gender and elapsed time after enucleation.
The velocity of ultrasound at 36°C in equine aqueous, lens and vitreous are 1529 ±10 m/s, 1654± 29 m/s and 1527 ±16 m/s respectively, and the corresponding conversion factors are 0.998± 0.007, 1.008 ±0.018 and 0.997 ±0.010. A linear increase of the speed of ultrasound with increasing temperature has been determined for aqueous and vitreous. No temperature dependence was found for the speed of ultrasound in the lens. The ultrasound velocity did not significantly differ (95%) on the basis of gender, age or time after enucleation during the first 72 hours after death.
Compared to human eyes, the ultrasound velocity in equine lental tissue deviates by one percent. Therefore, axial length measurements obtained with ultrasound velocities for the human eye must be corrected using conversion factors. For the aqueous and vitreous, deviations are below one percent and can be neglected in clinical settings.