Local abundance of macular xanthophyll pigment is associated with rod- A nd cone-mediated vision in aging and age-related macular degeneration

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE. We assessed the association between the abundance of macular xanthophyll carotenoid pigment using dual-wavelength autofluorescence and multimodal vision testing including rod-mediated dark adaptation (RMDA), a measure of retinoid re-supply, in adults ≥60 years old with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS. AMD severity was determined using the nine-step Age-Related Eye Disease Study grading. Tests probed cones (best-corrected visual acuity, contrast sensitivity), cones and rods (low-luminance visual acuity, low-luminance deficit, mesopic light sensitivity), or rods only (scotopic light sensitivity, RMDA). Signal attenuation by macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was estimated using a ratio of blue and green autofluorescence signal to yield mean MPOD in a 1°-diameter fovea-centered disk, mean MPOD in a 2°-diameter disk centered on a perifoveal RMDA test location, and macular pigment optical volume (MPOV, or integrated MPOD) in a 4°-diameter fovea-centered disk. Ageadjusted associations between vision and imaging measures were determined. RESULTS. In 88 eyes of 88 subjects (age, 74.9 ± 5.8 years) with normal eyes (n = 32), early AMD (n = 23), or intermediate AMD (n = 33), foveal and perifoveal MPOD and MPOV were higher in the AMD eyes than in the normal eyes. At the RMDA test location, higher MPOD was unrelated to AMD severity but was associated with faster RMDA. CONCLUSIONS. In older adults with and without AMD, higher macular xanthophyll concentrations are associated with better best-corrected visual acuity and RMDA. Data are consistent with a model of cone resilience and rod vulnerability in aging and AMD and can be further explored in a larger sample study.
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    Author List

  • Kar D; Clark ME; Swain TA; McGwin G; Crosson JN; Owsley C; Sloan KR; Curcio CA
  • Volume

  • 61
  • Issue

  • 8