Ischemia-induced hypoxia elicits retinal neovascularization and is a major component of several blinding retinopathies such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Currently, noninvasive imaging techniques capable of detecting and monitoring retinal hypoxia in living systems do not exist. Such techniques would greatly clarify the role of hypoxia in experimental and human retinal neovascular pathogenesis. In this study, we developed and characterized HYPOX-4, a fluorescence-imaging probe capable of detecting retinal-hypoxia in living animals. HYPOX-4 dependent in vivo and ex vivo imaging of hypoxia was tested in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Predicted patterns of retinal hypoxia were imaged by HYPOX-4 dependent fluorescence activity in this animal model. In retinal cells and mouse retinal tissue, pimonidazole-adduct immunostaining confirmed the hypoxia selectivity of HYPOX-4. HYPOX-4 had no effect on retinal cell proliferation as indicated by BrdU assay and exhibited no acute toxicity in retinal tissue as indicated by TUNEL assay and electroretinography (ERG) analysis. Therefore, HYPOX-4 could potentially serve as the basis for in vivo fluorescence-based hypoxia-imaging techniques, providing a tool for investigators to understand the pathogenesis of ischemic retinopathies and for physicians to address unmet clinical needs.