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Karl M. Andersen, Lydia Sauer, Rebekah H. Gensure, Martin Hammer, Paul S. Bernstein; Characterization of Retinitis Pigmentosa Using Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Ophthalmoscopy (FLIO). Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2018;7(3):20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.7.3.20.
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We investigated fundus autofluorescence (FAF) lifetimes in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO).
A total of 33 patients (mean age, 40.0 ± 17.0 years) with RP and an age-matched healthy group were included. The Heidelberg FLIO was used to detect FAF decays in short (SSC; 498–560 nm) and long (LSC; 560–720 nm) spectral channels. We investigated a 30° retinal field and calculated the amplitude-weighted mean fluorescence lifetime (τm). Additionally, macular pigment measurements, macular optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans, fundus photographs, visual fields, and fluorescein angiograms were recorded. Genetic studies were performed on nearly all patients.
In RP, FLIO shows a typical pattern of prolonged τm in atrophic regions in the outer macula (SSC, 419 ± 195 ps; LSC, 401 ± 111 ps). Within the relatively preserved retina in the macular region, ring-shaped patterns were found, most distinctive in patients with autosomal dominant RP inheritance. Mean FAF lifetimes were shortened in rings in the LSC. Central areas remained relatively unaffected.
FLIO uniquely presents a distinct and specific signature in eyes affected with RP. The ring patterns show variations that indicate genetically determined pathologic processes. Shortening of FAF lifetimes in the LSC may indicate disease progression, as was previously demonstrated for Stargardt disease. Therefore, FLIO might be able to indicate disease progression in RP as well.
Hyperfluorescent FLIO rings with short FAF lifetimes may provide insight into the pathophysiologic disease status of RP-affected retinas potentially providing a more detailed assessment of disease progression.
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