Macular Pigment Density Testing

Macular Pigment Density Testing

Posted on May.07, 2012, by , under Innovations for Visually Impaired

Did you know that our eyes have internal “sunglasses?”  Known as the macular pigment (MP), this yellow pigmented spot is found in the center of the retina known as the macula.  Made up of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, the MP plays a critical role in protecting the macula from harmful blue light and in helping to maintain the function of the macula.

Macular PIgment Optical Density

The thickness or the density of the MP varies from person to person.  The density can also change over time depending on several factors such as aging and lifestyle and dietary choices.  There has been several clinical trials and studies that have focused on measuring the MP and have researched  how the thickness of it correlates to one’s risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD).  The research has shown that a low macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is a key risk factor for AMD while a high macular pigment optical density not only reduces one’s risk for AMD but also helps to improve visual performance.  Vision changes such as better contrast sensitivity, better acuity and reduced glare are just some of the benefits to a high MPOD.

Measuring Macular Pigment Density

How does one know the thickness of their MP?   Several different instruments were used in different clinical trials . But now there is a scientifically proven instrument that measures Macular Pigment Optical Density that is available to those who are not in a research study. It is called QuantifEye.  According to the company’s description, it uses “ heterochromatic flicker photometry technology that provides accurate and reproducible results.”  This simple, non-invasive exam is done in the eye doctor’s office.

Monitoring Macular Pigment Density

The values or score that is used for MPOD ranges from 0 to 1. A low MPOD is in the range of  0 to .21, mid range is .21 to .44 and high range is .45 to 1.0.  According to ZeaVsion the company that makes the  QuantifEye instrument, the average MPOD in the United States is .35.

Measuring the density of the macular pigment provides important information, but  even more important is what does one do if test results show a low MPOD score? Find out more about this macular degeneration test, who should have it, where to get tested,  and what to do if you test low for MPOD:

Macular Pigment Density – Measuring, Managing, and Monitoring

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision