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Lydia Sauer, Dietrich Schweitzer, Lisa Ramm, Regine Augsten, Martin Hammer, Sven Peters; Impact of Macular Pigment on Fundus Autofluorescence Lifetimes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(8):4668-4679. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.14-15335.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To characterize the macular region and to investigate the influence of the macular pigment (MP) on fundus autofluorescence (FAF) lifetimes in vivo.
Forty-eight healthy subjects with a mean age of 24.1 ± 3.6 years (range, 20–37 years) were included. A 30° retinal field was investigated using the fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscope (FLIO), based on a Heidelberg Engineering Spectralis system, detecting FAF decays in a short (498–560 nm; ch1)- and a long (560–720 nm; ch2)-wavelength channel. The mean fluorescence lifetime τm was calculated from a 3-exponential approximation of the FAF decays. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was measured by one-wavelength reflectometry, and macular optical coherence tomogram (OCT) scans were recorded. Correlations between τm and MPOD were analyzed.
The τm showed shortest values at the macular region with a mean of 82 ps (ch1) and 126 ps (ch2). We found a strong correlation of τm to the MPOD (ch1: r = −0.760; ch2: r = −0.663; P < 0.001), as well as a topologic agreement of shortest τm with highest MPOD.
Macular pigment, which is known to have very short fluorescence decays, considerably contributes to the macular autofluorescence (AF). This study gives indirect evidence for a strong impact of MP on macular τm, although no direct measurement of MP autofluorescence lifetimes in vivo is possible at this point. Potentially, imaging the FAF lifetimes could lead to a novel methodology for the detection of macular pigment properties and pathology-induced changes in the living human retina.
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