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Philipp L. Müller, Simone Müller, Martin Gliem, Kristina Küpper, Frank G. Holz, Wolf M. Harmening, Peter Charbel Issa; Perception of Haidinger Brushes in Macular Disease Depends on Macular Pigment Density and Visual Acuity. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(3):1448-1456. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-19004.
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To optimize the perceptibility of Haidinger brushes (HB) and to investigate its association with visual acuity and macular pigment density.
In this prospective cross-sectional study, each subject underwent best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) testing, funduscopy, and assessment of macular pigment optical density (MPOD) using the two-wavelength fundus autofluorescence method. Haidinger brush visibility was tested with a rotating linear polarizer and a controllable three-color light-emitting diode (LED) panel as light source. A simple model of macular pigment absorption was used to predict HB visibility as a function of stimulus wavelength and MPOD.
All control eyes (n = 92) and 34% of the 198 eyes of subjects with macular disease (age-related macular degeneration, n = 40; macular telangiectasia type 2, n = 52; Stargardt disease, n = 58; other retinal dystrophies, n = 48) perceived HB when an optimized test setup (464-nm LED light) was applied. The degree of psychophysical perception and the dependency on different wavelengths were in accordance with the absorptance model. In eyes of subjects with macular disease, minimum thresholds of MPOD and BCVA required for HB perception were identified. Subjects with macular telangiectasia type 2 showed lowest values of MPOD and were mostly unable to perceive HB despite relatively preserved BCVA.
Macular pigment and a relatively preserved foveal function are necessary for the perception of HB. Haidinger brushes are usually not perceived by subjects with macular telangiectasia type 2, likely due to their characteristic foveal depletion of macular pigment.
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