Influence of lutein supplementation on macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques


Berendschot TT, Goldbohm RA, Klopping WA, van de Kraats J, van Norel J, van Norren D




Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci


PURPOSE: Macular pigment (MP) may protect against age-related macular degeneration. This study was conducted to determine the extent of changes in the macular pigment density as a consequence of oral supplementation with lutein. A second purpose was to compare two objective measurement techniques. METHODS: In the first technique, reflectance maps were made with a scanning laser ophthalmoscope. Digital subtraction of log reflectance maps and comparison between the foveal area and a 14 degrees temporal site provided MP density estimates. In the second technique, spectral fundus reflectance of the fovea was measured with a fundus reflectometer and analyzed with a detailed optical model, to arrive at MP density values. Eight subjects participated in this study. They took 10 mg lutein per day for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentration was measured at 4-week intervals. RESULTS: After 4 weeks, mean blood level of lutein had increased from 0.18 to 0.90 microM. It stayed at this level throughout the intake period and declined to 0.28 microM 4 weeks after termination. Measurement of the density of MP showed a within-subject variation of 10% with MP maps and 17% with spectral reflectance analysis. MP density showed a mean linear 4-week increase of 5.3% (P: < 0.001) and 4.1% (P: = 0. 022), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with lutein significantly increased the density of the MP. Analyzing reflectance maps with a scanning laser ophthalmoscope provided very reliable estimates of MP.