New technology measures carotenoid level

The biophotonic carotenoid scanner takes a reading from the palm of the hand
Primary Care Optometry News, January 2016
Brenda Tan; Jerome Sherman, OD
A top retinal researcher recently said that age-related macular degeneration begins in the uterus.
Due to AMD’s slow progression, we rarely see drusen and retinal pigment epithelium changes prior to age 50, and visual loss typically occurs after age 60. But a patient’s genetic profile – already determined in utero – explains about 60% of the attributable risk of AMD and cannot yet be modified. The remaining 40% is due to epigenetics and environment, which can be manipulated.

Genetic considerations

Tens of thousands of optometric patients with early signs of AMD or strong family histories have had ArcticDx labs provide genetic analysis of cheek cells.
The results classify a patient as being in one of five macular risk categories: those in MR1 have only about a 3% chance of progressing to serious vision loss, while those in MR5 have about a 73% chance. It follows that patients in the higher risk categories need more frequent monitoring and optimum control of the environmental factors.

AREDS and pharmacogenetics

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study results set specific guidelines for patients with intermediate AMD but not for patients with early or no AMD. About 10% of the population has AMD at age 60, and about 25% has it at age 75; it is intuitive that early treatment at a younger age may protect millions of Americans from ever developing AMD, the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. But long-term scientific evidence for this approach is lacking at present.
The AREDS study demonstrated a 25% reduction in progression to vision loss in those treated compared to those in the control group. However, intermediate AMD patients with a specific genetic profile (high risk CFH alleles and low risk ARMS2 alleles) who take an AREDS supplement with 80 mg of zinc increase their risk of AMD progression and, hence, should be on a zinc free or reduced zinc nutraceutical.

The biophotonic carotenoid scanner assesses carotenoid levels in 30 seconds through the palm of the hand.
The biophotonic carotenoid scanner assesses carotenoid levels in 30 seconds through the palm of the hand.

Images: Sherman J

Eye carotenoids

The AREDS2 study recommends incorporation of lutein and zeaxanthin. However, of the 600+ carotenoids in nature, three are known to be concentrated in the macula: lutein, zeaxanthin and the only carotenoid documented to selectively concentrate in the fovea, mesozeaxanthin. The Mesozeaxanthin Ocular Supplementation Trials (Connolly et al.) recommend taking all three in a product such as MacuHealth (MacuHealth LLC). Recent evidence reveals that these carotenoids actually improve visual functions such as contrast sensitivity and result in glare reduction…….
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Source: Healio