Fundus autofluorescence and progression of age-related macular degeneration

Surv Ophthalmol. 2009 Jan-Feb;54(1):96-117. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.10.004.


Fundus autofluorescence imaging is an imaging method that provides additional information compared to conventional imaging techniques. It permits to topographically map lipofuscin distribution of the retinal pigment epithelial cell monolayer. Excessive accumulation of lipofuscin granules in the lysosomal compartment of retinal pigment epithelium cells represents a common downstream pathogenetic pathway in various hereditary and complex retinal diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This comprehensive review contains an introduction in fundus autofluorescence imaging, including basic considerations, the origin of the signal, different imaging methods, and a brief overview of fundus autofluorescence findings in normal subjects. Furthermore, it summarizes cross-sectional and longitudinal fundus autofluorescence findings in patients with AMD, addresses the pathophysiological significance of increased fundus autofluorescence, and characterizes different fundus autofluorescence phenotypes as well as fundus autofluorescence alterations with disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fluorescence*
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / metabolism


  • Lipofuscin