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25 October 2006 Differentiation of ocular fundus fluorophores by fluorescence lifetime imaging using multiple excitation and emission wavelengths
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Proceedings Volume 6372, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques; 637202 (2006)
Event: Optics East 2006, 2006, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Ocular fundus autofluorescence imaging has been introduced into clinical diagnostics recently. It is in use for the observation of the age pigment lipofuscin, a precursor of age - related macular degeneration (AMD). But other fluorophores may be of interest too: The redox pair FAD - FADH2 provides information on the retinal energy metabolism, advanced glycation end products (AGE) indicate protein glycation associated with pathologic processes in diabetes as well as AMD, and alterations in the fluorescence of collagen and elastin in connective tissue give us the opportunity to observe fibrosis by fluorescence imaging. This, however, needs techniques able to differentiate particular fluorophores despite limited permissible ocular exposure as well as excitation wavelength (limited by the transmission of the human ocular lens to >400 nm). We present an ophthalmic laser scanning system (SLO), equipped with picosecond laser diodes (FWHM 100 ps, 446 nm or 468 nm respectively) and time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) in two emission bands (500 - 560 nm and 560 - 700 nm). The decays were fitted by a bi-exponential model. Fluorescence spectra were measured by a fluorescence spectrometer fluorolog. Upon excitation at 446 nm, the fluorescence of AGE, FAD, and lipofuscin were found to peak at 503 nm, 525 nm, and 600 nm respectively. Accordingly, the statistical distribution of the fluorescence decay times was found to depend on the different excitation wavelengths and emission bands used. The use of multiple excitation and emission wavelengths in conjunction with fluorescence lifetime imaging allows us to discriminate between intrinsic fluorophores of the ocular fundus. Taken together with our knowledge on the anatomical structure of the fundus, these findings suggest an association of the short, middle and long fluorescence decay time to the retinal pigment epithelium, the retina, and connective tissue respectively.
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M. Hammer, D. Schweitzer, S. Schenke, W. Becker, and A. Bergmann "Differentiation of ocular fundus fluorophores by fluorescence lifetime imaging using multiple excitation and emission wavelengths", Proc. SPIE 6372, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques, 637202 (25 October 2006);

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