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Chandrakumar Balaratnasingam, Bora Chae, Meredith H. Remmer, Erasmo Gomez, Mihoko Suzuki, Michael Engelbert, Richard F. Spaide; The Spatial Profile of Macular Pigments Is Related to the Topological Characteristics of the Foveal Avascular Zone. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(13):7859-7865. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-17532.
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Macular pigments are preferentially concentrated in the central fovea, an area devoid of vasculature. We hypothesized that there may be a link between the macular pigment profile and the size and structural characteristics of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ).
Two-wavelength autofluorescence method was used to quantify macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and the radius at half peak of MPOD, which was defined as the retinal eccentricity where the MPOD value was 50% of the peak value. Volumetric spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of the macula were obtained from 32 subjects. The equivalent radius of the FAZ was determined using data generated from OCT angiography. Generalized estimating equations were used to test the hypothesis that there are interrelationships among the central foveal thickness, peak MPOD, the radius at half peak of MPOD and the equivalent radius of the FAZ.
The equivalent radius of the FAZ was highly correlated with the radius at half peak of MPOD (P < .001). The equivalent radius of the FAZ was a significant predictor for central foveal thickness (P < .001). The significant predictor for peak MPOD was central foveal thickness (P = .004). Eyes with larger FAZs were more likely to have a secondary peak in their MPOD spatial profile in a zone ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 degrees from the foveal center.
The spatial distribution of macular pigment is related to the size of the FAZ, in addition to the central foveal thickness. It is possible that xanthophyll pigment accumulation in the macula serves functions, such as attenuation of shorter wavelengths of light, that would have been provided by the light-filtering characteristics of blood vessels.
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