Purpose To monitor photopic and scotopic sensitivity recovery during a one year period of supplementation with lutein (L).
Methods A two centred, placebo controlled study of L supplementation was conducted in Maastricht, The Netherlands and Manchester, UK. L capsules (10mg ester), or placebo (P) were taken by AMD patients daily. There were 29 patients in the L group and 31 patients in the P group. Sensitivity recovery functions and MPOD (Macular Pigment Optical Density) were measured at baseline and at 4, 8 and 12 months. MPOD was measured with a flicker‐based method. Sensitivity recovery following a bleach was obtained by recording visual thresholds (white 1 deg target, nasal eccentricity 11 deg).
Results In the L group, there was a mean increase of MPOD from 0.40 (0.17) at baseline to 0.54 (0.21), at visit 4, SDs in brackets (p< 0.0001). In the P group, MPOD was 0.47 (0.19) at baseline and 0.49 (0.19) at visit 4. The mean rod recovery rate for the L group was 3.1 dB/min (1.08) at baseline that increased to 3.65 (0.31) at visit 4. This was statistically significant (p =0.17). The mean rod recovery rate for the P group was reduced from 3.3 (1.3) to 3.1 (1.35), (NS). The rod recovery time for the L group reduced from 15.9 minutes (7.9) to 14.5 minutes (8.4), NS. In the P group, rod recovery time increased from 14.3 (7.7) to 16.8 minutes (p= 0.021). For cone recovery or rod‐cone break time no significant differences between baseline and visit 4 in either the L group or the P group were found.
Conclusion Rod‐based sensitivity recovery kinetics are improved after the augmentation of MPOD with lutein. In patients in whom there is no increase in MP a significant increase in rod‐based sensitivity recovery time can be expected.