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.