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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

New SHTAC project on the accuracy of autofluorescence imaging tests for diagnosing and monitoring retinal conditions

Published: 16 December 2014
Eye test

A new SHTAC project is investigating the accuracy of tests which measure natural fluorescence in the eye for diagnosing and monitoring diseases of the retina.

Natural fluorescence within the eye, known as ‘autofluorescence’, originates from molecules which are the by-products of cell metabolism. As such, autofluorescence tends to increase in intensity, and may show characteristic distribution patterns, in various eye diseases. Measuring the distribution and intensity of autofluorescence using a specialist microscope could be a sensitive way to diagnose and monitor diseases of the retina and has the advantage that the tests involved are non-invasive. However, the technology capable of detecting autofluorescence is relatively new and it is unclear how well autofluorescence imaging tests perform compared to the other types of retina imaging test currently in use. This systematic review project aims to determine the accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) of autofluorescence imaging tests for diagnosing a range of retinal conditions and for monitoring their progression or response to treatment.

The project has been commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) HTA programme. The report will be freely available in the NIHR Journals Library (Health Technology Assessment) in late 2015.

For more information on SHTAC’s research into eye diseases please visit our Research page.

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