Macular Pigment Density Assessment
Macular pigment density assessment involves the use of the Zeiss Visucam 200, a technique which enables the optometrist to measure the amount of Macular Pigment within the retina. This technique takes a few seconds and is exactly the same process as having a retinal photograph taken. It will not affect vision, so driving afterwards is safe.
Macular pigment is comprised of carotenoids known as Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are absorbed by the body from our diet; specifically from green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and yellow foods such as sweet corn, peppers and egg yolk. A third macular pigment has been identified which is known as Meso-Zeaxanthin which is formed by the body from Lutein. The carotenoids are stored within the retina acting as a protective shield to the delicate macular tissues and protect the eye from conditions such macular degeneration.
Individuals with low levels of macular pigment are more at risk of macular degeneration; individuals with high levels of macular pigment are less at risk. Macular pigment can now be accurately and quickly measured, meaning we are able screen our patients for low macular pigment levels. Crucially, macular pigment levels can be improved by changes to diet and lifestyle; introducing more macular pigment rich foods or via the introduction of macular supplements containing high levels of vitamins, minerals and macular pigments.