The purpose of this study is to show that there exists a spectral characteristic that differentiates normal macular tissue from various types of genetic-based macular diseases. This paper demonstrates statistically that hyperspectral images of macular and other retinal tissue can be used to spectrally differentiate different forms of age-related macular degeneration. A hyperspectral fundus imaging device has been developed and tested for the purpose of collecting hyperspectral images of the human retina. A methodology based on partial least squares and ANOVA has been applied to determine the hyperspectral representation of individual spectral characteristics of retinal features. Each discrete tissue type in the retina has an identifiable spectral shape or signature which, when combined with spatial context, aids in detection of pathological features. Variations in the amount and distribution of various ocular pigments or the inclusion of additional biochemical substances will allow detection of pathological conditions prior to traditional histological presentation. Fundus imaging cameras are ubiquitous and are one of the most common imaging modalities used in documenting a patient's retinal state for diagnosis, e.g. remotely, or for monitoring the progression of an ocular disease. The added diagnostic information obtained with only a minor retro-fit of a specialized spectral camera will lead to new diagnostic information to the clinical ophthalmologist or eye-care specialist.© (2007) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.