- The global population is ageing. Coupled with the often poor western diet and lifestyle that many non-western populations are now adopting, ophthalmologists predict an epidemiological explosion of AMD in the next few years. Given the global cost of AMD was $343 billion dollars in 2010 these healthcare costs will spiral unless effective screening, prevention and treatment strategies are put in place1
- Screening for low MP by the MPSll is currently the best way to identify patients at risk of macular degeneration
- There is overwhelming evidence that low MP is one of the main risk factors for having AMD. There is also emerging evidence that increasing MP can slow the development of the AMD, in that those in a placebo-controlled study either halted the decline in Visual Acuity over a one-year period, or in some cases actually improved VA.
- The biology surrounding MPOD and AMD is very complicated and many risk factors come into play when ascertaining a person’s likelihood to either develop AMD or halt early-stage AMD. Apart from MP, the other equally important ones are smoking, obesity, poor health/lifestyle, excessive exposure to blue light hazards.
- This complexity, coupled with the fact that, as with almost all clinical devices, different instruments give slightly different (systematic) values calculated via a subjective test. This means that the healthcare professional must ensure a holistic approach to a patient’s risk of developing AMD. Although MP is not the only determining risk factor for AMD and may in many people be seen as normal to good (usually ≥0.5), when taken into consideration with the other risk factors that patients may exhibit will mean they should still elevate MP levels via diet, supplementation and informed lifestyle choices to offset these other risks
- Healthcare professionals need to take a holistic approach when assessing a person’s overall risk for developing AMD
- Before creating a pro-active risk management strategy for any patient, all other risk factors a patient may exhibit apart from their MP level need to be ascertained.
The three carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso -zeaxanthin account for the ‘yellow spot’ at the macula and are referred to as macular pigment (MP). They are believed to play a role in visual function and protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) via their optical and antioxidant properties.
Fig.1 The Eye
Thick, dense macular pigment is like having “internal sunglasses” to block harmful blue light that can damage your eyes over time.
Fig. 2 MP acts as the eyes’ Internal Sunglasses (courtesy of the American Ophthalmic Association)
Fig.1 Normal Sight. Fig. 2 Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).