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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 19, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 2002
  • pp: 1172–1186

In vivo resonant Raman measurement of macular carotenoid pigments in the young and the aging human retina

Werner Gellermann, Igor V. Ermakov, Maia R. Ermakova, Robert W. McClane, Da-You Zhao, and Paul S. Bernstein  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 19, Issue 6, pp. 1172-1186 (2002)

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We have used resonant Raman scattering spectroscopy as a novel, noninvasive, in vivo optical technique to measure the concentration of the macular carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin in the living human retina of young and elderly adults. Using a backscattering geometry and resonant molecular excitation in the visible wavelength range, we measure the Raman signals originating from the single- and double-bond stretch vibrations of the π-conjugated molecule’s carbon backbone. The Raman signals scale linearly with carotenoid content, and the required laser excitation is well below safety limits for macular exposure. Furthermore, the signals decline significantly with increasing age in normal eyes. The Raman technique is objective and quantitative and may lead to a new method for rapid screening of carotenoid pigment levels in large populations at risk for vision loss from age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in the United States.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical optics and biotechnology
(170.1610) Medical optics and biotechnology : Clinical applications
(170.4470) Medical optics and biotechnology : Ophthalmology
(170.4580) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical diagnostics for medicine
(300.6450) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, Raman
(330.4300) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision system - noninvasive assessment

Original Manuscript: November 9, 2001
Manuscript Accepted: January 4, 2002
Published: June 1, 2002

Werner Gellermann, Igor V. Ermakov, Maia R. Ermakova, Robert W. McClane, Da-You Zhao, and Paul S. Bernstein, "In vivo resonant Raman measurement of macular carotenoid pigments in the young and the aging human retina," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 1172-1186 (2002)

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