New research suggests rapid screening technique for macular degeneration

May 15, 2002

New research from scientists at the University of Utah suggests that the Raman scattering technique shows promise as a screening tool for populations at risk for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.

The research, "Raman Imaging of Human Macular Pigments," employed the Raman spectroscopy, to image the spatial distribution of macular carotenoid pigments (MPs) in the human retina. Using excised human eyecups as test samples and resonant excitation of the pigment molecules with narrow-bandwidth blue light from a mercury arc lamp, reseachers recorded Raman images originating from the carbon-carbon double bond stretch vibrations of the molecules.

This research demonstrates the potential for using this method in large-scale population studies to provide insight in individual variations in the spatial profiles of MP distributions as well as the total amounts of MP.

In addition to the research findings to be published in Optics Letters, research detailing the integral measurement method needed to provide a reading for average macular pigment concentration will be published in the June issue of JOSA A.
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About OSA

Founded in 1916, the Optical Society of America (OSA) was organized to increase and diffuse the knowledge of optics, pure and applied; to promote the common interests of investigators of optical problems, of designers, and of users of optical apparatus of all kinds; and to encourage cooperation among them. OSA's mission is to promote the generation, application and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide. OSA can be found on the Web at www.osa.org.

The Optical Society

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