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.