Macular pigment and age-related macular degeneration


Pauleikhoff D, van Kuijk FJ, Bird AC






The present concepts of the pathogenesis of AMD include cumulative light damage by oxidative processes in the macular photoreceptors as environmental co-factor for the development of AMD. The direct causative connection of this hypothesis has still to be established but wide circumstantial evidence from epidemiological and basic scientific investigations are strongly supportive. Macular pigment consisting of lutein and zeaxanthin through there ability to filter light and by direct antioxidative properties, has been proposed as the most effective protective factor in the central retina ("natural sun glasses") and could be important to reduce light induced oxidative retinal damage. The observation, that with age and especially in eyes with AMD lower concentrations of macular pigment could be found, can be interpreted that low macular pigment concentrations may be associated with higher risk for AMD. Through dietary intake and eventually with supplementation the concentration of macular pigment can be increased, and analysis of the correlation between macular pigment and AMD may be important to characterise a possible influenceable AMD risk factor.