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Chantal Dysli, Sebastian Wolf, Martin S. Zinkernagel; Autofluorescence Lifetimes in Geographic Atrophy in Patients With Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(6):2479-2487. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-18381.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate fluorescence lifetime characteristics in patients with geographic atrophy (GA) in eyes with age-related macular degeneration and to correlate the measurements with clinical data and optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings.
Patients with GA were imaged with a fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscope. Retinal autofluorescence lifetimes were measured in a short and a long spectral channel (498–560 nm and 560–720 nm). Mean retinal fluorescence lifetimes were analyzed within GA and the surrounding retina, and data were correlated with best corrected visual acuity and OCT measurements.
Fluorescence lifetime maps of 41 eyes of 41 patients (80 ± 7 years) with GA were analyzed. Mean lifetimes within areas of atrophy were prolonged by 624 ± 276 ps (+152%) in the short spectral channel and 418 ± 186 ps (+83%) in the long spectral channel compared to the surrounding tissue. Autofluorescence lifetime abnormalities in GA occurred with particular patterns, similar to those seen in fundus autofluorescence intensity images. Within the fovea short mean autofluorescence lifetimes were observed, presumably representing macular pigment. Short lifetimes were preserved even in the absence of foveal sparing but were decreased in patients with advanced retinal atrophy in OCT. Short lifetimes in the fovea correlated with better best corrected visual acuity in both spectral channels.
This study established that autofluorescence lifetime changes in GA present with explicit patterns. We hypothesize that the short lifetimes seen within the atrophy may be used to estimate damage induced by atrophy and to monitor disease progression in the context of natural history or interventional therapeutic studies.
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