This video shows what spontaneous venous pulsations look like in the retina. This eye is suffering from ocular ischemic syndrome which has dilated the retinal veins and make them even easier to see than usual.
Most people believe that these pulsations are caused because of a differential between eye and CSF pressure. The CSF cavity (transmitted forward along the optic nerves) is separated from the vitreous cavity by only the lamina cribosa at the optic nerve head. When pressure is elevated too high around the brain, the pulsations stop because the pressure gradient is too high. The presence of pulsations is a reasonably good indicator that the CSF pressure is ok. Unfortunately, the lack of pulsations doesn’t tell you much as this can be entirely normal.
Pulsations are only rarely examined in ophthalmology, and this findings is more often sought after by neurology who deal more with ICP issues.
Download this video
To download this video, right click on a link below and choose “Save Target As…”
spontaneousvenouspulsations.wmv (5.0 meg, Windows video file)