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N. Liu, J. Yu, L. Cui, H. Zhou, F. Shang, E. J. Johnson; Age-Related Decline in Macular Pigment Optical Density in a Chinese Population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):1722.
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Macular pigment may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by its capability to absorb blue light and scavenge free radicals. Current information regarding the human macular pigment density was mainly obtained from studies on Caucasian populations. The purpose of this study was to assess the macular pigment density and its determinant factors in a Chinese population.
Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was measured in a healthy Chinese population using a heterochromatic flicker photometry (HFP). Participants received a standard ophthalmic examination and only the subjects who were confirmed not to have any eye diseases except mild age-related cataract were included in the study. Demographic and lifestyle data and general health status were recorded by questionnaire.
A total of 282 unrelated healthy Chinese individuals (96 males and 186 females), age of 17-85 years, participated in the study. The mean ± SD of MPOD at 0.25°, 0.5°, 1.0°, and 1.75°eccentricity points were 0.56 ± 0.20, 0.48 ± 0.19, 0.35 ± 0.16, and 0.19 ± 0.13, respectively. There was a statistically significant negative correlation between MPOD and aging at 0.25° eccentricity point (p = 0.002). There was also a trend of age-related declines in MPOD at 0.5° and 1.0° eccentricity points, but the differences were not statistically significant. A trend of negative correlation between MPOD and body mass index (BMI) was also observed. There was no detectable association between MPOD and gender or between MPOD and smoking status.
Our data suggest a significant age-related decline in macular pigment density in this healthy Chinese population. Moreover, macular pigment density is reversely associated with BMI. The age-related decline in MPOD may render the retina and RPE to photo-oxidative damage and susceptibility to macular degeneration.
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