This study investigated changes of short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence (SW-AF) by retinal bleaching effects. All measurements were performed with the Heidelberg Retina Angiograph 2 (HRA 2). Initially, experimental imaging was done on a healthy eye after dark adaptation. Photopigment was bleached within the central 30 degrees of the fundus by HRA 2 excitation light. Then SW-AF imaging of this region was performed, and SW-AF of the surrounding, unbleached 25 degrees fundus region was subsequently studied by a wide-field lens. Next, another 30 degrees SW-AF image of the posterior pole was obtained after complete dark adaptation. Then an extra SW-AF examination was performed with 15 degrees temporal eccentricity, overlapping the original examination area. Finally, a successive image series was carried out on the dark-adapted eye to test for bleaching kinetics. The second and third experiments were also performed on eyes with macular dystrophies. Distinct regions of increased SW-AF were observed after strong illumination with the blue excitation light in all eyes studied. During light adaptation mean gray levels showed a saturation plateau after an initial steep increase. The resulting gray-value maps showed significant differences of pixel intensities between bleached and unbleached parts of the fundus. Two-dimensional density difference maps allowed analysis of visual pigment distribution and density in both healthy eyes and eyes with macular dystrophies. Our observations highlight the viability of objective, non-invasive evaluation of visual pigment in the healthy and diseased human retina by means of confocal fundus autofluorescence.
Theelen, T., Berendschot, T. T., Boon, C. J., Hoyng, C. B., & Klevering, B. J. (2008). Analysis of visual pigment by fundus autofluorescence. Experimental Eye Research, 86(2), 296-304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exer.2007.10.022