gms | German Medical Science

21st Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society and 8th Symposium of the International Society of Ocular Trauma (ISOT)

German Retina Society
International Society of Ocular Trauma

19.06. - 22.06.2008, Würzburg

Near Infrared Autofluorescence Imaging in Retinal Dystrophies

Meeting Abstract

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  • Claudia N. von Strachwitz - Würzburg/Germany
  • F.C. Delori - Boston/USA

Retinologische Gesellschaft. International Society of Ocular Trauma. 21. Jahrestagung der Retinologischen Gesellschaft gemeinsam mit dem 8. Symposium der International Society of Ocular Trauma. Würzburg, 19.-22.06.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2008. DocISOTRG2008V102

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

Published: June 18, 2008

© 2008 von Strachwitz 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.



Background: To investigate the potential of near-infrared autofluorescence (AF-787) imaging in assessing pathological changes in patients with retinal dystrophies.

Methods: 16 patients with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy (STGD), 8 patients with Best dystrophy (BD) and 7 patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were included in this retrospective study. AF-787 images were obtained with an HRAc using the excitation wavelength of 787 nm and detecting fluorescence above 800 nm. For all subjects lipofuscin autofluorescence (AF-488) images, and digital color images were also recorded.

Results: The distribution of AF seen for AF-787 excitation does not correspond with the distribution of AF-488. Flecks of high AF-488 in STGD revealed low AF-787 properties in most cases. Single flecks at the periphery of the lesion also revealed high AF-787. Lack of correspondence in the distribution for the two AF types was also marked in BD. AF-787 is low at the site of high AF-488 accumulations of yellow lipofuscin-like material. High AF-787 is linked to areas of brownish material in the color image, often observed at the edge of the lesion. In RP, concentric contraction of the normal central bright area in AF-787 was observed. Later, the combined observation of perifoveal atrophy and preservation of central retinal structures lead to a ring-like configuration in both AF modalities. Characteristic bone spicules neither revealed high AF-488 nor high AF-787.

Conclusions: Melanin and/or melanolipofuscin in the RPE appear to be in large part responsible for the AF-787. Its distribution differs from that of lipofuscin particularly in degenerating RPE cells. The observation that extracellular deposition of melanin such as in cases of bone spicules in RP does not fluoresce in AF-787 and AF-488 requires further investigation. Long time observations will be necessary to determine the change of AF properties during the progression of the diseases.