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Sumana S Kommana, Ann M John, Saysha Blazier, Bernard C Szirth, Albert S Khouri; Fundus Autofluorescence Captured with a Non-Mydriatic Retinal Camera in Vegetarians vs Non Vegetarians. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2776.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine the relationship between a vegetarian diet and lipofuscin accumulation in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of a younger South Asian population using fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging.
In this pilot study, we examined 38 healthy subjects (average age 23 yrs +/- 1) all undergoing similar stress levels as medical students at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Levels of lipofuscin accumulation were imaged using a FAF retinal camera (Canon CX-1 Hybrid Mydriatic/non-Mydriatic camera with a resolution of 16 Mp CMOS sensor and a minimum pupillary natural dilation of 3.2 mm with an exciter (535-585 nm wide band) and barrier filter (605-715nm narrow band). All images were exposed at a flash level of 100 w/sec for color imaging and 300 w/sec for auto-fluorescence and captured at an angle of 45 degrees with only the left eye imaged and included in the analysis. Autofluorescence quantitative scoring was obtained in three regions - the optic nerve (N), the paracentral retina (P), and the macula (M) by determining the grey scale score of a 35.5 mm2 rectangle in the respective regions. Standardized scores (corrected to remove baseline fluorescence) were then obtained by leveling autofluorescence at the optic nerve. Means, SDs and T-tests were performed for comparisons.
38 subjects (38 eyes, 61% females, 100% were South Asian decent, 3% smokers) were included in the analysis. Dietary mix was: 42% vegetarians, 58% non- vegetarians (defined as eating meat more than ½ their life). The mean age of both groups was not significantly different (p >0.05). Autofluorescence scores of regions P and N were significantly different (p < 0.05) between groups while that of region M was not. Regions P and N were further standardized and results remained significant. The average levels of autofluorescence in each region are included in Table 1.
Our results show that in this cohort, vegetarians had statistically significant lower levels of FAF. These findings can have potential implications regarding retinal health and risk for developing certain diseases such as AMD in the future. This pilot study enrolled young healthy individuals to determine FAF quantitative scores. Future studies will include healthy individuals with different dietary habits and wider age distribution.
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