Supplementation with three different macular carotenoid formulations in patients with early age-related macular degeneration

Retina. 2014 Sep;34(9):1757-66. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0000000000000174.


Purpose: To investigate the impact of three different macular carotenoid formulations on macular pigment optical density and visual performance in subjects with early age-related macular degeneration.

Methods: Fifty-two subjects were supplemented and followed for 12 months, 17 of them were in intervention Group 1 (20 mg/day lutein and 2 mg/day zeaxanthin); 21 in Group 2 (10 mg/day meso-zeaxanthin, 10 mg/day lutein, and 2 mg/day zeaxanthin); and 14 in Group 3 (17 mg/day meso-zeaxanthin, 3 mg/day lutein, and 2 mg/day zeaxanthin). The macular pigment optical density was measured using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry, and visual function was assessed using corrected distance visual acuity and by letter contrast sensitivity.

Results: A statistically significant increase in the macular pigment optical density was observed at all measured eccentricities in Group 2 (P ≤ 0.005) and in Group 3 (P < 0.05, for all), but only at 1.75° in Group 1 (P = 0.018). Statistically significant (P < 0.05) improvements in letter contrast sensitivity were seen at all spatial frequencies (except 1.2 cycles per degree) in Group 3, and at low spatial frequencies in Groups 1 and 2.

Conclusion: Augmentation of the macular pigment optical density across its spatial profile and enhancements in contrast sensitivity were best achieved after supplementation with a formulation containing high doses of meso-zeaxanthin in combination with lutein and zeaxanthin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Contrast Sensitivity / drug effects*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Macular Pigment / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Photometry
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects*
  • Zeaxanthins / administration & dosage*


  • Macular Pigment
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Zeaxanthins
  • meso-zeaxanthin
  • Lutein