May 2004
Volume 45, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2004
Macular Pigment Density In The Normal Elderly, And Subjects With Cataracts And Age–Related Macular Degeneration
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • T.A. Ciulla
    Retina Service, Midwest Eye Institute, Indianapolis, IN
  • B.R. Hammond
    Vision Science Lab., Dept. Psyc., Univ of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  T.A. Ciulla, None; B.R. Hammond, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  none
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2004, Vol.45, 2973. doi:
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      T.A. Ciulla, B.R. Hammond; Macular Pigment Density In The Normal Elderly, And Subjects With Cataracts And Age–Related Macular Degeneration . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):2973.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract: : Purpose: Increasing evidence has linked retinal lutein and zeaxanthin (termed macular pigment, MP) to risk of age–related macular degeneration (AMD). Currently, however, studies differ regarding the question of whether MP declines with age nor has the effect of age in patient populations been assessed (i.e., does MP density decline more quickly in patients relative to normals?). This study was designed to evaluate MP across the lifespan with an emphasis on assessing MP in a cross–section of elderly including those with lenticular and/or retinal degeneration. Methods: In a cross–sectional study of normal, cataractous, and AMD subjects tested in Indianapolis, MP density was measured with a one–degree diameter test field at 460 nm using a psychophysical method based on heterochromatic flicker photometry in 390 subjects. Twenty two of the subjects had cataracts and 59 subjects had age–related macular degeneration. Results: MP does not appear to change as a function of age (r = +0.04) when examining subjects across the lifespan (from 18–88 years). There was a slight tendency (slope = –0.0027, r = –0.11) for MP to decline when only the elderly subjects were considered, but this trend was not significant (p<0.12) for any of the groups considered (normal, cataractous, or AMD). Conclusions: MP does not change significantly with age even when elderly subjects with cataracts and AMD are considered. Using heterochromatic flicker photometry, subjects display a full range of MP density that is similar to young subjects.

Keywords: age–related macular degeneration • carotenoids/carotenoid binding proteins • nutritional factors 

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