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FUNDUS AUTOFLUORESCENCE IMAGING: Review and Perspectives

SCHMITZ-VALCKENBERG, STEFFEN MD*†; HOLZ, FRANK G. MD*; BIRD, ALAN C. MD; SPAIDE, RICHARD F. MD

doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e318164a907
Review Article
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Fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging is a novel imaging method that allows topographic mapping of lipofuscin distribution in the retinal pigment epithelium cell monolayer as well as of other fluorophores that may occur with disease in the outer retina and the subneurosensory space. Excessive accumulation of lipofuscin granules in the lysosomal compartment of retinal pigment epithelium cells represents a common downstream pathogenetic pathway in various hereditary and complex retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration. FAF imaging has been shown to be useful with regard to understanding of pathophysiologic mechanisms, diagnostics, phenotype–genotype correlation, identification of predictive markers for disease progression, and monitoring of novel therapies. FAF imaging gives information above and beyond that obtained by conventional imaging methods, such as fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography. Its clinical value coupled with its simple, efficient, and noninvasive nature is increasingly appreciated. This review summarizes basic principles and FAF findings in various retinal diseases.

Fundus autofluorescence imaging is a novel imaging method that allows topographic mapping of lipofuscin distribution in the retinal pigment epithelium cell monolayer as well as of other fluorophores that may occur with disease in the outer retina and the subneurosensory space. This review summarizes basic principles and fundus autofluorescence findings in various retinal diseases.

From the *Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; the †Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, London, United Kingdom; and ‡Vitreous, Retina, Macula Consultants of New York, New York, New York, USA.

Supported by the German Research Council (DFG) SPP 1088; Ho 1926/1-3, 1926/3-1, Integrated Project “EVI-GENORET” (LSHG-CT-2005-512036); and the LuEsther T. Mertz Retina Research Laboratory and the Macula Foundation (New York, NY).

Reprint requests: Richard F. Spaide, MD, Vitreous, Retina, Macula Consultants of New York, 460 Park Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

© The Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.