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Relationship between macular pigment and visual function in subjects with early age-related macular degeneration
  1. Kwadwo Owusu Akuffo1,
  2. John M Nolan1,
  3. Tunde Peto2,
  4. Jim Stack1,
  5. Irene Leung2,
  6. Laura Corcoran1,
  7. Stephen Beatty1
  1. 1Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, Macular Pigment Research Group, School of Health Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
  2. 2NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kwadwo Owusu Akuffo, Macular Pigment Research Group, Vision Research Centre, Waterford Institute of Technology, West Campus, Carriganore, Waterford X91 K236, Ireland; kakuffo{at}


Purpose To investigate the relationship between macular pigment (MP) and visual function in subjects with early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods 121 subjects with early AMD enrolled as part of the Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial (CREST; ISRCTN13894787) were assessed using a range of psychophysical measures of visual function, including best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), letter contrast sensitivity (CS), mesopic and photopic CS, mesopic and photopic glare disability (GD), photostress recovery time (PRT), reading performance and subjective visual function, using the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (NEI VFQ-25). MP was measured using customised heterochromatic flicker photometry.

Results Letter CS, mesopic and photopic CS, photopic GD and mean reading speed were each significantly (p<0.05) associated with MP across a range of retinal eccentricities, and these statistically significant relationships persisted after controlling for age, sex and cataract grade. BCVA, NEI VFQ-25 score, PRT and mesopic GD were unrelated to MP after controlling for age, sex and cataract grade (p>0.05, for all).

Conclusions MP relates positively to many measures of visual function in unsupplemented subjects with early AMD. The CREST trial will investigate whether enrichment of MP influences visual function among those afflicted with this condition.

Trial registration number ISRCTN13894787.

  • Retina
  • Vision
  • Psychophysics
  • Macula
  • Degeneration

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  • Contributors Designed the experiment: KOA, SB and JMN. Conducted the experiment: KOA. Analysed/interpreted data: KOA, JS, SB, JMN and TP. Provided materials: KOA, SB, JMN, JS, TP, IL and LC. Wrote initial draft: KOA. Proofed/revised article: KOA, SB, JMN, TP, JS, IL and LC.

  • Funding This study was funded by the European Research Council (ERC); reference number: 281096. KOA, LC and JMN were funded by the European Research Council. JMN was also funded by the Howard Foundation, Cambridge, UK. TP and IL were funded by the NIHR BMRC at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL IoO, London, UK.

  • Competing interests JMN and SB do consultancy work for nutraceutical companies in a personal capacity and as directors of Nutrasight Consultancy Limited.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by the Research Ethics Committee of the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Waterford, Ireland, and the Ethics Committee of the European Research Council (ERC).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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