Autofluorescence method to measure macular pigment optical densities fluorometry and autofluorescence imaging

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Oct 15;430(2):156-62. doi: 10.1016/


Non-invasive measurement of the optical density of the human macular pigment by the autofluorescence method takes advantage of the fluorescence of lipofuscin in the human retinal pigment epithelium. Measuring the intensity of fluorescence above 550 nm, where macular pigment has essentially zero absorption, and stimulating the fluorescence with two wavelengths, one well absorbed by macular pigment and the other minimally absorbed by macular pigment, provides a single-pass measurement of the macular pigment optical density. The method is implemented either by fluorometry of lipofuscin to yield the optical density of the macular pigment in a 2 degrees diameter central area, or by autofluorescence imaging to yield a high-resolution map of the macular pigment distribution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Macula Lutea / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Pigments / metabolism*


  • Lipofuscin
  • Retinal Pigments