gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

Sodium fluorescein as a retinal pH-indicator?

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author M. Hammer - Augenklinik der FSU Jena
  • D. Schweitzer - Augenklinik der FSU Jena
  • S. Richter - Augenklinik der FSU Jena
  • E. Königsdörffer - Augenklinik der FSU Jena

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogDO.01.06

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2004

© 2004 Hammer et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Neovacularisation is a symptom associated with various diseases revealing ocular fundus manifestation. Often, these neovascularisations originate from retinal hypoxia. A concomitant phenomenon of hypoxia is acidosis. To recognise this would permit the identification and treatment of hypoxic fundus areas long before first vascular modifications are seen. Thus, the goal of this investigation was to elucidate whether sodium fluorescein could be used as a retinal pH-indicator.


Sodium fluorescein solution was diluted in PBS (ratio 1:150000). The pH was varied from 6.5 to 8.6 by supplementation of HCl or NaOH respectively. The Fluorescence was excited by a pulsed diode laser (wavelength: 446 nm, pulse width: 100 ps) and detected by time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) technique. A least square fit of the measured fluorescence decay versus time by an exponential function results in the fluorescence lifetime. Ten measurements were taken at each pH for statistical analysis. The dependence of the fluorescence lifetime from the temperature and the concentration of sodium fluorescein was investigated in the same way.


The fluorescence lifetime was found to rise from 3.775 ns to 4.11 ns with increasing pH (6.5 to 8.6). However, the gradient decreases with increasing pH. We found highly significant differences (Student's T-test, P<0.0005) of the fluorescence lifetimes for pH values with a mean difference of 0.125 at pH <7.65 whereas the differences were still significant (P<0.02) at pH >7.65 and mean pH - differences of 0.2. The fluorescence lifetime was independent of the temperature (22°C to 37°C) and the concentration of sodium fluorescein (dilution 1:150000 to 1:2000).


The fluorescence lifetime of sodium fluorescein depends on the pH but not on the temperature and concentration. Thus, the discrimination of areas with retinal acidosis should be possible by combination of TCSPC - technique with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy. Further investigations have to clarify, whether the accuracy of the measurement at the fundus in vivo is sufficient.