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Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2005 May;222(5):396-408.

[Fundus spectrometry in age-related maculopathy].

[Article in German]

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FSU Jena, Klinik für Augenheilkunde, Bereich Experimentelle Ophthalmologie, Jena.



Spectroscopic methods permit the non-invasive detection of fundus pigments by the wavelength-dependent absorption of fluorescence as well as by the fluorescence lifetime. From the relative concentrations of haemoglobin and oxyhaemoglobin, the oxygen saturation can be calculated. The onset of age-related maculopathy might be delayed by a high optical density of xanthophyll. The detection of alterations in fundus autofluorescence points to age-related pathomechanisms (accumulation of lipofuscin, formation of connective tissue). The detection of autofluorescence of redox-pairs of coenzymes results in information about metabolic states at the cellular level, and might make possible an early detection of age-related changes when they are still reversible.


The evaluation of reflectance spectra, detected by imaging ophthalmo-spectrometry, results in the calculation of oxygen saturation or in the optical density of xanthophyll or of melanin. Fluorescence spectra can be measured also by this technique. For the 2-dimensional determination of the distribution of xanthophyll, a very simple method was developed, requiring fundus illumination by one wavelength only. In the detection of time-resolved autofluorescence, the fluorescence lifetime is used for the determination of endogenous fluorophores.


As result of comparing studies between ARM patients and healthy subjects, the consumption of retinal oxygen was increased already in the children of ARM patients. An increasing optical density of xanthophyll was determined after lutein supplementation. Differences in fluorescence lifetime were determined between ARM patients and healthy subjects, but their interpretation requires investigations of cell or of organ model cultures.


The described methods permit in vivo basic investigations of ARM and can be considered as impulses for the development of diagnostic devices.

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