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Fundus autofluorescence in the diagnosis of cystoid macular oedema


Aim: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of the non-invasive imaging technique, fundus autofluorescence (AF), in the diagnosis of cystoid macular oedema (CMO), using fluorescein angiography as the reference standard.

Design: Retrospective, consecutive, observational case series.

Methods: Ninety-six consecutive patients with CMO suspected clinically were selected from the AF database of the Retina Unit, Ophthalmology Department, Grampian University Hospitals—NHS Trust, between August 2004 and June 2006. Only patients in whom CMO was secondary to (1) cataract extraction, (2) inherited retinopathies, (3) inflammatory eye disease or (4) idiopathic cases were included in this study. Only patients in whom AF images had been performed within 2 weeks of FFA and, when obtained following FFA, there was a minimum gap of 4 days (“washing out” period), were considered eligible for this study. A total of 34 eyes from 34 patients were eligible and were included in this study. FFA was used as the reference test to confirm the presence of CMO, and, based on fluorescein angiography (FFA), CMO was graded as either mild or florid. AF images were examined in a masked fashion for the presence or absence of CMO. The sensitivity and specificity of AF in detecting CMO were then calculated.

Results: CMO was seen on AF imaging as round or oval areas at the fovea with an AF signal similar to that of background levels. At this site (fovea), the AF signal is usually reduced compared with background, due to the blockage caused by luteal pigment. The diagnosis of CMO based on AF imaging had 81% sensitivity and 69% specificity when compared with the reference standard FFA. Based on the FFA, there were 12 cases of florid CMO and eight of mild CMO. Of the former, CMO was detected with AF imaging in 100% (12/12 eyes), and of the latter, in 50% (4/8 eyes).

Conclusions: AF imaging can be used as a rapid, non-invasive technique in the diagnosis of CMO.

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