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Guenther Weigert, Semira Kaya, Berthold Pemp, Stefan Sacu, Michael Lasta, Rene M. Werkmeister, Nikolaus Dragostinoff, Gerhard Garhofer, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Leopold Schmetterer; Effects Of Lutein Supplementation On Macular Pigment Optical Density And Visual Acuity In Patients With Age-related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5658.
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There is evidence from several large scale clinical trials that reduced intake of lutein, a major component of the macular pigment, is a risk factor for AMD. In the present study we hypothesized that lutein intake increases macular pigment optical density (MPOD). In addition, we investigated whether lutein supplementation improves visual acuity (VA) and macular function (mean differential light threshold, MDLT) as assessed with microperimetry.
126 patients with AMD (AREDS stages 2, 3 and 4) were included in the randomized (2:1), placebo-controlled, double masked cross-over study. Lutein or placebo was administered for 6 months. MPOD was measured using a custom-built reflectometer. VA acuity was assessed with ETDRS charts and MDLT was assessed using a microperimeter.
Lutein significantly increased MPOD by 27.9 ± 2.9% (p < 0.001 versus placebo). No significant effect of lutein supplementation on MDLT or VA was seen although a tendency towards an increase was seen for both parameters (MDLT: p = 0.096 versus placebo, VA: p = 0.070 versus placebo). A significant correlation was, however, found between the increase in MPOD after 6 months and the increase in MDLT after 6 months (r = 0.25, P = 0.027) as well as between the increase in MPOD after 6 months and the increase in VA after 6 months (r = 0.27, P = 0.013).
The present study indicates that lutein increases MPOD as assessed with an objective method. The correlation between the change in MPOD and the change in VA and MDLT indicates that patients who show a pronounced increase in MPOD also benefit in terms of visual function.
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