Comparison of macular pigment optical density measured by autofluorescence and reflectometry: The LIMPIA study

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To compare macular pigment optical density (MPOD) measured by two techniques (autofluorescence, reflectometry) in healthy subjects at high risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


The Limpia Study is a double-blind, placebo controlled, prospective randomized clinical trial performed in 120 subjects with at least one parent affected by neovascular AMD. Subjects having used supplements containing lutein and/or zeaxanthin in the preceding year were not included. MPOD was measured using two methods: the two-wavelength autofluorescence method with a modified scanning laser ophthalmoscope (Heidelberg Retinal Analyzer


At baseline, mean MPOD within 0.51°, measured with the modified HRA method, was 0.5 (standard deviation 0.2). Maximal MPOD, measured with Visucam, was 0.4 (standard deviation 0.1). Parameters from the modified HRA (optical density within 0.5°, 1°, 2° and 6°) and from the Visucam method (volume, area, mean and maximum optical density) were weakly correlated. The best correlations were observed for MPOD within 2° and 6° with volume from Visucam(r=0.21 and r=0.22, respectively), and mean MPOD from Visucam (r=0.21 and r=0.18).


The two methods propose different parameters to evaluate macular pigment, which overall correlated weakly in this population of middle-aged healthy subjects at high risk for AMD. Further research is needed to characterize the differences between the methods and identify the best parameters and techniques to measure macular pigment.


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