Fundus autofluorescence imaging: review and perspectives

Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, Frank G Holz, Alan C Bird, Richard F Spaide
Retina 2008, 28 (3): 385-409
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.

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