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Lukas Goerdt, Lydia Sauer, Alexandra S. Vitale, Natalie K. Modersitzki, Monika Fleckenstein, Paul S. Bernstein; Comparing Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Ophthalmoscopy in Atrophic Areas of Retinal Diseases. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(7):11. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.7.11.
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Fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO) is a non-invasive imaging modality to investigate the human retina. This study compares FLIO lifetimes in different degenerative retinal diseases.
Included were eyes with retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and/or photoreceptor atrophy due to Stargardt disease (n = 66), pattern dystrophy (n = 18), macular telangiectasia type 2 (n = 49), retinitis pigmentosa (n = 28), choroideremia (n = 26), and geographic atrophy (n = 32) in age-related macular degeneration, as well as 37 eyes of 37 age-matched healthy controls. Subjects received Heidelberg Engineering FLIO, autofluorescence intensity, and optical coherence tomography imaging. Amplitude-weighted mean FLIO lifetimes (τm) were calculated and analyzed.
Retinal FLIO lifetimes show significant differences depending on the disease. Atrophic areas in geographic atrophy and choroideremia showed longest mean FLIO lifetimes. τm values within areas of RPE and outer nuclear layer atrophy were significantly longer than within areas with preserved outer nuclear layer (P < 0.001) or non-atrophic areas (P < 0.001).
FLIO is able to contribute additional information regarding differences in chronic degenerative retinal diseases. Although it cannot replace conventional autofluorescence imaging, FLIO adds to the knowledge in these diseases and may help with the correct differentiation between them. This may lead to a more in-depth understanding of the pathomechanisms related to atrophy and types of progression.
Differences between atrophic retinal diseases highlighted by FLIO may indicate separate pathomechanisms leading to atrophy and disease progression.
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