Purpose: To compare the impact of sustained supplementation using different macular carotenoid formulations on macular pigment (MP) and visual function in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Patients and methods: Sixty-seven subjects with early AMD were randomly assigned to: Group 1 (20 mg per day lutein (L), 0.86 mg per day zeaxanthin (Z); Ultra Lutein), Group 2 (10 mg per day meso-zeaxanthin (MZ), 10 mg per day L, 2 mg per day Z; Macushield; Macuhealth), Group 3 (17 mg per day MZ, 3 mg per day L, 2 mg per day Z). MP was measured using customised heterochromatic flicker photometry and visual function was assessed by measuring contrast sensitivity (CS) and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). AMD was graded using the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System (AREDS 11-step severity scale).
Results: At 3 years, a significant increase in MP from baseline was observed in all groups at each eccentricity (P<0.05), except at 1.75° in Group 1 (P=0.160). Between 24 and 36 months, significant increases in MP at each eccentricity were seen in Group 3 (P<0.05 for all), and at 0.50° in Group 2 (P<0.05), whereas no significant increases were seen in Group 1 (P>0.05 for all). At 36 months, compared with baseline, the following significant improvements (P<0.05) in CS were observed: Group 2-1.2, 6, and 9.6 cycles per degree (c.p.d.); Group 1-15.15 c.p.d.; and Group 3-6, 9.6, and 15.15 c.p.d. No significant changes in BCVA, or progression to advanced AMD, were observed.
Conclusion: In early AMD, MP can be augmented with a variety of supplements, although the inclusion of MZ may confer benefits in terms of panprofile augmentation and in terms of CS enhancement.