PARIS — A French study failed to demonstrate the effects of supplementation with lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants on macular pigment density, according to a speaker at the meeting of the French Society of Ophthalmology.
Active treatment or placebo was administered for 6 months, and evaluation was done every 3 months for 1 year. Variation of macular pigment density was measured using a modified HRA (Heidelberg), Visucam 200 MPD (Carl Zeiss Meditec) and heterochromatic flicker photometry (HFP, MacuLux, Ebiga Vision).
“Blood tests confirmed the increase of plasma carotenoids after 3 and 6 months in the group receiving supplements. However, HRA and Visucam examination failed to demonstrate a significant increase of macular pigment density, while an increase was shown by HFP,” Marie-Noelle Delyfer, MD, said.
Two hypotheses were formulated to explain these results……..
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About Macular Pigment Denisty
Did you know that our eyes have internal “sunglasses?”  Known as the macular pigment (MP), this yellow pigmented spot is found in the center of the retina known as the macula.  Made up of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, the MP plays a critical role in protecting the macula from harmful blue light and in helping to maintain the function of the macula.
Macular Pigment Optical Density
The thickness or the density of the MP varies from person to person.  The density can also change over time depending on several factors such as aging and lifestyle and dietary choices.  There has been several clinical trials and studies that have focused on measuring the MP and have researched  how the thickness of it correlates to one’s risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD).  The research has shown that a low macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is a key risk factor for AMD while a high macular pigment optical density not only reduces one’s risk for AMD but also helps to improve visual performance.  Vision changes such as better contrast sensitivity, better acuity and reduced glare are just some of the benefits to a high MPOD.
Measuring Macular Pigment Density
How does one know the thickness of their MP?   Several different instruments were used in different clinical trials . But now there is a scientifically proven instrument that measures Macular Pigment Optical Density that is available to those who are not in a research study. It is called QuantifEye.  According to the company’s description, it uses “ heterochromatic flicker photometry technology that provides accurate and reproducible results.”  This simple, non-invasive exam is done in the eye doctor’s office.- Enhanced Vision