Bleaching effects and fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy

Matthias Klemm, Lydia Sauer, Sascha Klee, Dietmar Link, Sven Peters, Martin Hammer, Dietrich Schweitzer, Jens Haueisen

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the influence of photopigment bleaching on autofluorescence lifetimes in the fundus in 21 young healthy volunteers. Three measurements of 30° retinal fields in two spectral channels (SSC: 498–560 nm, LSC: 560–720 nm) were obtained for each volunteer using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO). After dark-adaptation by wearing a custom-made lightproof mask for 30 minutes, the first FLIO-measurement was recorded (dark-adapted state). Subsequently, the eye was bleached for 1 minute (luminance: 3200 cd/m 2 ), followed by a second FLIO-measurement (bleached state). Following an additional 10 minute dark adaptation using the mask, a final FLIO-measurement was recorded (recovered state). Average values of the fluorescence lifetimes were calculated from within different areas of a standardized early treatment diabetic retinopathy study (ETDRS) grid (central area, inner and outer rings). The acquisition time in the bleached state was significantly shortened by approximately 20%. The SSC did not show any significant changes in fluorescence lifetimes with photopigment bleaching, only the LSC showed small but significant bleaching-related changes in the fluorescence lifetimes τ 1 and τ 2 from all regions, as well as the mean fluorescence lifetime in the central area. The fluorescence lifetime differences caused by bleaching were by far less significant than pathological changes caused by eye diseases. The magnitudes of fluorescence lifetime changes are <10% and do not interfere with healthy or disease related FLIO patterns. Thus, we conclude that bleaching is not a relevant confounder in current clinical applications of FLIO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number#344779
Pages (from-to)1446-1461
Number of pages16
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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