New diagnostic tool sheds light on rare eye disease
Blurred vision, floaters and abnormal light perception – people affected by the rare disease posterior uveitis feel no pain. But the consequences can be serious: About 5 to 10 percent of blindness worldwide is caused by uveitis.
There are different forms of the disease. In posterior uveitis, the retina or choroid in the eye becomes inflamed. While the retina converts incident light into nerve impulses, the choroid provides nutrients to the outer layers of the retina.
However, because different subtypes often require a different treatment, a reliable diagnosis is all the more important. This is why researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Bonn have developed a new imaging technique that can aid in the diagnosis of posterior uveitis.
The team evaluated the color-coded Fundus autofluorescence (Spectral-Resolution Autofluorescence Imaging). The company CenterVue (iCare) from Padua (Italy) provided the newly developed device for the researchers to test.
Autofluorescence: An emerging eye healing tool
This process involves illuminating the retina with bluish light. The retina absorbs light and re-emits it at a different wavelength. This device measures fluorescence and divides the signal into a green and red component.
The blue-red ratio of the light emitted from each inflammatory focal point, among other factors, depends on the exact type of posterior uveitis involved. The researchers examined the eyes of 45 study participants.
In all of them, the exact type of uveitis was diagnosed first. This includes the results of ophthalmic examinations, laboratory investigations, serological and radiological findings, and in some cases, interdisciplinary clinical and genetic examinations.
The researchers evaluated the blue-red ratio in orbital fluorescence for approximately 800 foci of inflammation in the patients’ eyes. The aim is to document disease progression on a long-term basis and make recommendations for treatment guidelines.
This technology may also allow for better monitoring of posterior uveitis in the future, in addition to more reliable diagnoses.