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Carla Pröbster, Ioana-Sandra Tarau, Andreas Berlin, Nikolai Kleefeldt, Jost Hillenkamp, Martin M. Nentwich, Kenneth R. Sloan, Thomas Ach; Quantitative Fundus Autofluorescence in the Developing and Maturing Healthy Eye. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(2):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.2.15.
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Quantitative fundus autofluorescence (QAF) enables comparisons of autofluorescence intensities among participants. While clinical QAF reports mostly focused on the healthy and diseased adult retina, only very limited data of QAF in the maturing eye are available. Here, we report QAF in a large cohort of healthy children.
In this prospective monocentric cross-sectional study, 70 healthy Caucasian children (5–18 years) were multimodal imaged, including QAF and spectral domain optical coherence tomography. QAF and retinal thicknesses were measured at predefined locations (along horizontal meridian; Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study [ETDRS] grid) and correlated using custom written Fiji plugins. Standard retinae for different age groups were generated.
Fifty-three participants were included. QAF was low in childhood but increased steadily (P < 0.001), also at the fovea (P < 0.001), with no gender differences (P = 0.61). The QAF distribution was similar to adults showing highest values superior-temporally. At individual points, retinal thickness remained stable, while using the ETDRS pattern, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) thickness increased significantly with aging. Standard QAF retinae of age groups also showed an increase with aging.
QAF can be reliably performed in young children. Function–structure correlation showed a thickening of the RPE and an increasing QAF with aging, probably related to the histologic low number of RPE autofluorescent granules at a younger age but further deposition of these granules during maturation. Standard retinae help to distinguish abnormal QAF in the diseased retina of age-matched patients.
Our data bridge the gap between preclinical QAF and clinical data application and structural OCT correlation in children.
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