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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Jun;49(6):2661-7. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0501.

Imaging polarimetry in age-related macular degeneration.

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  • 1Computational Optics and Ophthalmology Group, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.



To evaluate the birefringence properties of eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). To compare the information from two techniques--scanning laser polarimetry (GDx) and polarization-sensitive spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT)--and investigate how they complement each other.


The authors prospectively examined the eyes of two healthy subjects and 13 patients with exudative AMD. Using scanning laser polarimetry, they computed phase-retardation maps, average reflectance images, and depolarized light images. To obtain polarimetry information with improved axial resolution, they developed a fiber-based, polarization-sensitive, spectral-domain OCT system and measured the phase retardation associated with birefringence in the same eyes.


Both GDx and polarization-sensitive spectral-domain optical coherence tomography detected abnormal birefringence at the locus of exudative lesions. Polarization-sensitive, spectral-domain OCT showed that in the old lesions with fibrosis, phase-retardation values were significantly larger than in the new lesions (P = 0.020). Increased scattered light and altered polarization scramble were associated with portions of the lesions.


GDx and polarization-sensitive spectral-domain OCT are complementary in probing birefringence properties in exudative AMD. Polarimetry findings in exudative AMD emphasized different features and were related to the progression of the disease, potentially providing a noninvasive tool for microstructure in exudative AMD.

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