Indocyanine green (ICG) angiograms of each of five patients with retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) detachments were made using first a Topcon fundus camera and then a Heidelberg scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO); for each patient, both types of angiograms were obtained on the same day. In each case, the serous fluid appeared bright throughout the fundus camera studies and dark throughout the SLO studies. This study sought to explain the disparity in the appearance of the lesions in the two kinds of images and to determine whether there was dye in the serous fluid.Methods:
Simple model eyes were constructed to demonstrate the effects of Mie light scatter and integrating sphere behavior of the sclera on ICG image formation by the fundus camera and SLO optics. Analysis was made of both the clinical angiograms and model eye images to structure an explanation for the disparate RPE detachment angiographic images.Results:
Indocyanine green fluorescent light from choroidal vessels adjacent to the lesions and scattered by the turbid serous fluid accounted for the lesion brightness seen in the fundus camera images. The models confirmed that SLOs suppress scattered light.Conclusions:
The apparent fluorescence of serous fluid beneath RPE detachments in fundus camera early-phase ICG angiogram images is not attributable to the presence of dye; rather, it appears to be attributable to serous fluid light scatter of fluorescent light arising from adjacent fluorescent structures. This light scatter is a consequence of the fundus camera illumination and recording optics and is not present in SLO-generated images. The necessity of understanding such phenomena as absorption, diffraction, polarization, and scatter of light and routinely applying them to ICG angiogram interpretation is underscored when it is shown that they offer simple explanations for unusual or unexpected angiographic results, as in the case of the patients with RPE detachment discussed here.