gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

Macular pigment: Methods of analysis, evidence-based data and prognostic implication

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  • corresponding author M. Trieschmann - Augenabteilung am St.Franziskus Hospital, Münster
  • D. Pauleikhoff - Augenabteilung am St.Franziskus Hospital, Münster

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogDO.01.01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2004

© 2004 Trieschmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Low levels of macular pigment (MP) are supposed to represent a potential risk factor for development of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Which Methods of investigation of MP are available for clinical use? Is the MP concentration associated with the risk for the development of AMD? Do these investigations result in an individual risk profile? Can we advise supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin according to these data?


Fundus autofluorescence (AF) mapping is performed employing 488nm (absorbed by MP) and 514nm (no absorption by MP), digital substraction of the log AF images and quantitative analysis of grey scale values in the resulting MP density maps.


Analysis of AF can easily be performed within clinical practice. Data of one and two wavelengths methods show a good correlation (Rsquare 0,7). A second wavelength not absorbed by MP and computerised alignment of both maps takes into account the inhomogeneous distribution of fluoropohores in the central retina and therefore provides more accurate values. Furthermore falsification of grey scale values caused by irregular illumination and also by local drusen, PE atrophy, PE-proliferation can be minimised using a second wavelength.

In recent clinical studies the distribution of MP shows strong interindividual variations. Reduced levels of MP were significantly more often observed in the AMD group. Fellow eyes of geographic atrophies showed the lowest central MP values. Oral supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin may influence this potential risk factor.


AF imaging and analysis of grey scale values in MP density maps can easily be performed in everyday practice to create an individual risk profile and to facilitate follow-up investigations. This strategy of quantitative MP analysis on AF images is used in clinical studies and can propose a prognostic role of the MP concentration as a potential risk factor for AMD. First results of a supplementation study with lutein and zeaxanthin are presented.