We have imaged the spatial distribution of macular carotenoid pigments (MPs) in the human retina, employing Raman spectroscopy. Using excised human eyecups as initial test samples and resonant excitation of the pigment molecules with narrow-bandwidth blue light from a mercury arc lamp, we record Raman images originating from the carbon–carbon double-bond stretch vibrations of the molecules. Preliminary Raman images reveal significant differences in the MPs of different samples in regard to absolute levels as well as spatial variation. This technique holds promise as a method of rapid screening of MPs in large populations at risk for vision loss from age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(170.3880) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical and biological imaging
(170.5660) Medical optics and biotechnology : Raman spectroscopy
(330.4300) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision system - noninvasive assessment
Werner Gellermann, *Igor V. Ermakov, Robert W. McClane, and Paul S. Bernstein, "Raman imaging of human macular pigments," Opt. Lett. 27, 833-835 (2002)