There is currently strong interest in developing noninvasive technologies for the detection of macular carotenoid pigments in the human eye. These pigments, consisting of lutein and zeaxanthin, are taken up from the diet and are thought to play an important role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in the Western world. It may be possible to prevent or delay the onset of this debilitating disease with suitable dietary intervention strategies. We review the most commonly used detection techniques based on heterochromatic flicker photometry, fundus reflectometry, and autofluorescense techniques and put them in perspective with recently developed more molecule-specific Raman detection methods. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.