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P.S. Bernstein, D. Zhao, S.W. Wintch, I.V. Ermakov, R. McClane, W. Gellermann; Resonance Raman Spectroscopic Measurement of Macular Carotenoid Pigments in Patients with Early-Onset Macular Drusen . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):1806.
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Purpose: Using ocular resonance Raman spectroscopy, we have previously reported that macular carotenoid levels decline with age and that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients have 32% lower levels than age-matched controls (P = 0.001) (Ophthalmology 2002;109:1780-1787). In this study, we examined the macular carotenoid levels and serum lutein levels in patients with early-onset macular drusen to determine if similar abnormalities are present. Methods: 34 normal subjects (14 males, 20 females), age ranging from 19 to 49 (34.4 ± 10.3, M ± SD) and 11 early-onset drusen patients (6 males, 5 females), age ranging from 23 to 49 (38.5 ± 9.5, M ± SD), had macular carotenoid levels measured by resonance Raman spectroscopy, and their blood carotenoid levels were analyzed by HPLC. Results: The mean ± SD of serum lutein levels was 107.8 ± 57.8 and 101 ± 53.3 ng/ml in normal subjects and in early-onset drusen patients, respectively (P = 0.78, Student's t-test). The level of macular carotenoids was 901 ± 407 Raman counts (M ± SD) in normal subjects and 592 ± 397 Raman counts (M ± SD) in early-onset drusen patients (P = 0.049, Student's t-test). Conclusions: Early-onset drusen patients had significantly lower macular pigment levels than age-matched control eyes (34% lower versus normals) in a manner very similar to our previously reported results on AMD eyes. This suggests that low ocular levels of macular carotenoids may play a key role in the macular pathological changes seen in these patients.
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