Macular Pigment Optical Density in an Ageing Irish Population: The Irish Longitudinal Study on AgeingNolan J.M.a, b · Kenny R.c · O’Regan C.c · Cronin H.c · Loughman J.d · Connolly E.E.a, b · Kearney P.c · Loane E.a · Beatty S.a, b
aMacular Pigment Research Group, Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, and bInstitute of Vision Research, Whitfield Clinic, Waterford, cTILDA Research Group, University of Dublin, and dMacular Pigment Research Group, Optometry Department, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland
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Purpose: The 3 carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, which account for the ‘yellow spot’ at the macula and which are referred to as macular pigment (MP), are believed to play a role in visual function and protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) via their optical and antioxidant properties. This study was undertaken to compare MP optical density (MPOD) in a population aged ≧50 years with MPOD values from a normative database of subjects aged 18–60 years. Methods: Seventy-nine subjects were recruited into this pilot study (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing-TILDA). MPOD was measured using heterochromatic flicker photometry. Retinal fundus photographs, lifestyle data and general health data, were also obtained. Results: The mean ± SD age of the 79 subjects recruited into this study was 65 ± 11 years. There was a moderate, but statistically significant, age-related decline in MPOD at 0.5° in the TILDA data (r = –0.251, p = 0.045), which remained upon merging with a normative database of an additional 462 subjects aged between 18 and 67 years (r = –0.179, p = 0.000). Conclusions: We report an inverse association between MPOD and increasing age. Longitudinal data in a larger cohort of participants are required to satisfactorily investigate the relationship between the optical density of this pigment and age, and with risk for development and/or progression of AMD. This pilot study represents a first step in this endeavour.
© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel
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