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Macular pigment optical density in a healthy population measured with a new optical instrument


Purpose : The macular pigment is a blue-absorbing pigment lying mainly at the macula that has a protective role against photochemical damage and oxidation. The purpose of this study was twofold: to evaluate in a clinical environment a new objective optical instrument for the in-vivo measurement of the macular pigment and to obtain baseline values in a healthy population.

Methods : The prototype instrument and corresponding method was previously presented (Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):6094). The eye fundus is illuminated using light with the appropriate spatial, spectral and temporal structure and the reflected fundus light is collected using custom optics and recorded by a high-speed silicon photomultiplier. The signal is analysed in the Fourier domain to determine a value for the macular pigment optical density. The duration of the measurement is kept below 0.2 sec and no medically induced pupil dilation is needed. A total of 51 healthy volunteers with no known ocular pathology participated in the study and a questionnaire was answered regarding their demographic, lifestyle and other characteristics. Informed consent was provided and all data complied with the GDP regulation. The subject’s age ranged between 19 and 61 years old with an average age 33.9 years.

Results : The instrument showed high repeatability, investigated using a test-retest reliability. The optical density values measured ranged from 0.20 D.U. to 0.54 D.U. in the group under study. The average macular pigment optical density value was 0.38 D.U. and 0.37 D.U. for the left and right eye respectively. The effect of uncorrected refractive error in the measurements was evaluated by comparing five myopic subjects with refractive error ranging from -6D to -1D that were tested with and without contact lenses and the agreement was found to be high.

Conclusions : An objective optical instrument developed for the measurement of macular pigment was tested in a clinical environment. The repeatability of the instrument was found to be high and the measurement was immune to myopia up to -6D. The range of measured values in a healthy population was found to be large, consistent with previous studies.

This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.

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