The Minnesota grading system using fundus autofluorescence of eye bank eyes: A correlation to age-related macular degeneration (An AOS thesis)

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Purpose: To establish a grading system of eye bank eyes using fundus autofluorescence (FAF) and identify a methodology that correlates FAF to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with clinical correlation to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). Methods: Two hundred sixty-two eye bank eyes were evaluated using a standardized analysis of FAF. Measurements were taken with the confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope (cSLO). First, high-resolution, digital, stereoscopic, color images were obtained and graded according to AREDS criteria. With the neurosensory retina removed, mean FAF values were obtained from cSLO images using software analysis that excludes areas of atrophy and other artifact, generating an FAF value from a grading template. Age and AMD grade were compared to FAF values. An internal fluorescence reference standard was tested. Results: Standardization of the cSLO machine demonstrated that reliable data could be acquired after a 1-hour warm-up. Images obtained prior to 1 hour had falsely elevated levels of FAF. In this initial analysis, there was no statistical correlation of age to mean FAF. There was a statistically significant decrease in FAF from AREDS grade 1, 2 to 3, 4 (P < .0001). An internal fluorescent standard may serve as a quantitative reference. Conclusions: The Minnesota Grading System (MGS) of FAF (MGS-FAF) establishes a standardized methodology for grading eye bank tissue to quantify FAF compounds in the retinal pigment epithelium and correlate these findings to the AREDS. Future studies could then correlate specific FAF to the aging process, histopathology AMD phenotypes, and other maculopathies, as well as to analyze the biochemistry of autofluorescent fluorophores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-401
Number of pages19
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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