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Med Phys. 2002 Nov;29(11):2621-8.

Optical measurement of human retinal macular pigment and its spatial distribution with age.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan 11221, Republic of China. ychang@bme.ym.edu.tw


The existence of macular pigment (MP) in human eyes has been found to be of importance in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). A noninvasive technique of two-wavelength imaging fundus reflectometry was developed to measure the density distribution of this yellow pigment in retina in vivo. A total of 55 healthy human subjects were recruited and divided into three groups with average ages and sample sizes of 25.2+/-2.1 (N = 25), 40.2+/-8.3 (N = 13), and 67.5+/-7.1 years (N = 17), respectively. Only the MP distributions in the horizontal meridian of retinas are presented in this report. The results show that the average peak optical density of MP are 0.23+/-0.07, 0.21+/-0.05, and 0.25+/-0.06 from young to old groups, respectively. No significant difference is shown in the statistical t-test between the groups of the peak MP density. The half width of MP spatial distribution (HWMPD) are 4.8 degrees+/-1.5 degrees, 5.1 degrees+/-2.1 degrees and 7.7 degrees+/-2.0 degrees (1 degree = approximately 0.3 mm) from young to old groups, respectively. Mean HWMPD = approximately 5.6 degrees +/- 2.1 degrees. It shows that the area of MP is increased approximately by a rate of 0.06 degrees/yr according to the application of linear regression. However, the cause of the MP extension in the retina with age is unknown.

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