Abstract

We describe resonance Raman imaging (RRI) of macular pigment (MP) distributions in the living human eye. MP consists of the antioxidant carotenoid compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, is typically present in high concentrations in the healthy human macula relative to the peripheral retina, and is thought to protect this important central region from age-related macular degeneration. We demonstrate that RRI is capable of quantifying and imaging the spatially strongly varying MP distribution in the human retina. Using laser excitation of the MP molecules at 488nm, and sequential camera detection of light emitted back from the retina at the MP’s strongest Raman peak position and at an off-peak position, RRI maps of MP are obtained at a resolution below 50μm within a fraction of a second per exposure. RRI imaging can be carried out with undilated pupils and provides a highly molecule-specific diagnostic imaging approach for MP distributions in human subjects.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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