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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;252(4):657-63. doi: 10.1007/s00417-014-2564-z. Epub 2014 Jan 12.

The association between dark adaptation and macular pigment optical density in healthy subjects.

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The Vision Centre, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Carys Bannister Building, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK,



To investigate whether macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is related to dark adaptation in healthy subjects.


Dark adaptation was measured after a minimum 30 % pigment bleach in 33 subjects (aged 15-68), using a white 1° stimulus presented 11° below fixation on a cathode ray tube monitor. The luminance range of the monitor was extended using neutral density filters. A heterochromatic flicker photometry based instrument (MPS 9000) was used to measure MPOD.


The average MPOD for the whole group was 0.37 ± 0.21 optical density units. Subjects with lighter irides had on average 40 % lower MPOD compared to those with darker irides (0.3 ± 0.20 vs 0.5 ± 0.19). Group mean MPOD was weakly associated with second (r = 0.32, p = 0.07) and third rod-mediated recovery rates (r = 0.31, p = 0.08) and with the rod threshold (r = -0.24, p = 0.18) 30 min after the onset of bleach. MPOD was unrelated to cone time constant (r = -0.02, p = 0.91), cone threshold (r = -0.01, p = 0.96), rod-cone break (r = 0.13, p = 0.45) or the rod-rod break (r = 0.11, p = 0.52). The second rod-mediated recovery rate (S2) for the lower 10th percentile of MPOD (n = 4) was 0.18 log cd.m(-2).min(-1) and 0.24 log cd.m(-2).min(-1) for the upper 10th percentile (n = 4). The two groups were significantly different (t = -2.67, p = 0.037).


We report a statistically significant difference between subjects falling in the 10th percentile extremes of MPOD and rod-mediated but not cone-mediated sensitivity recovery. Further investigation into the relationship between MPOD and rod function is warranted, particularly extending the work to encompass those with low MPOD and poor night vision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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