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Current Medical Imaging


ISSN (Print): 1573-4056
ISSN (Online): 1875-6603

Noninvasive Imaging and Monitoring of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Patterns Using Fundus Autofluorescence - Review

Author(s): Carsten Framme, Johann Roider, Helmut G. Sachs, Ralf Brinkmann and Veit-Peter Gabel

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2005

Page: [89 - 103] Pages: 15

DOI: 10.2174/1573405052952994


Non-invasive imaging of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) using autofluorescence became recently available with the introduction of confocal laser scanning ophthalmoscopes. Fundus autofluorescence is usually excited at a wavelength of 488nm and the emitted light is detected above 500nm. This intrinsic autofluorescence was shown to derive from the lipofuscin accumulating within the RPE either with age or also due to different hereditary or degenerative diseases of the macula as e.g. age-related macular degeneration. Since a variety of macular diseases correlate with distinct RPE changes, specific patterns of autofluorescence could be evaluated within the recent years for diagnostic and prognostic reasons in those RPE-related diseases. Moreover autofluorescence can also be regarded as a monitoring tool after therapeutic applications as macular surgery or laser treatment. Other new applications try to determine macular pigment density using autofluorescence or use it to evaluate oxygen-dependent cell metabolism. This review summarizes the recent findings of autofluorescent patterns in specific diseases and therapeutic approaches and emphasizes on the tremendous potential of this novel imaging method.

Keywords: fundus autofluorescence, retinal pigment epithelium, rpe, lipofuscin, age-related macular degeneration, macular holes, laser photocoagulation, selective rpe laser treatment

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