Fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO)

FLIO is a new diagnostic method that tells us the fluorescence lifetime (FLT) of the human fundus. Fundus autofluorescence (FAF) has been utilized for years as the established diagnostic method in clinical Ophthalmology. Lipofuscin, aged pigment granules existing in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, is the most known fluorophore in human fundus. However, there are many other different fluorophores in chorioretinal tissues. Since different fluorophores are produced with changes in cellular metabolic status, FLIO may have a potential not only to discriminate different anatomical structures, but also to detect alteration of metabolic status of the retina, which is very important for early detection and prevention of degenerative retinal disorders including age-related macular degeneration. In our research group, we are trying to elucidate early pathology-related FLT changes on FLIO using ex-vivo retinal tissues and living animals (mouse). Our new BMBF Project "MetaNetz" aims to realize early detection of metabolic changes of age-related macular degeneration.