Purpose To investigate the effect on spatial vision of enhancing macular pigment (MP) with lutein (L) capsules in patients with early AMD.
Methods A randomised, placebo‐controlled two‐centred, 12 months study of the effects of L supplementation was conducted in Manchester, UK and Maastricht, The Netherlands. L capsules (10mg Ester), or a placebo were taken daily. 35 patients (mean age 73.4 ± 8.2, VA>0.5 logMar) were randomly assigned to either L (lutein, n=19) or P (placebo, n=16) groups. Best corrected Log MAR visual acuities, contrast sensitivities (CS) at 0.5, 2, 4, 8,12 and 16 c/deg, and MP were measured at baseline and on three, four month intervals, after the start of the 12 month supplementation period. MP was measured using a flicker‐based technique.
Results An increase in the mean MP levels was found for the L group; from 0.35±0.19 to 0.47±0.22 OD units that was statistically significant (p<0.0003) while no change in MP was found for the P group. A mean improvement from 0.23±0.12 (baseline) to 0.16±0.10 (visit 4) was found in the VA of the L group (statistically significant, p= 0.004). In the P group there was a non‐significant deterioration in VA from 0.18±0.12 to 0.20±0.12. The mean difference in VA between baseline and visit 4 for the L group was 0.07±0.10 and for the P group was ‐0.03±0.10 (statistically significant difference, p= 0.004). No statistically significant changes were found in CS at any of the tested spatial frequencies for either of the 2 groups.
Conclusion Lutein supplementation over a 12 months period improves MP levels in AMD patients and this corresponds to an overall improvement in VA. No such effect is observed in CS.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.