Are you at risk for age related eye disease? Learn about eye testing technologies you can find at your local eye doctor’s office.
Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) testing is a non-invasive way to know the lutein and zeaxanthin levels in your eyes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are important because they block the wavelengths of light from sunlight and digital devices called "blue light," the shorter, more energetic wavelengths of visible light between 400 and 500 nm.1 Studies suggest that too much blue light may cause damage in the eye.2
If your MPOD level is below the recommendations, you can increase it with foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as green leafy vegetables and eggs for lutein and corn for zeaxanthin. Other good sources are broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach and avocadoes for lutein and orange peppers for zeaxanthin.9 A study known as the Age Related Eye Disease Study 2, which was the landmark study by the National Eye Institute and which used FloraGLO Lutein, recommended 10 milligrams of lutein and 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin per day.10 Most Americans eat only 1 to 2 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin each day, so supplement sources are a good option for many people.11
1. Tosini G, et al. (2016). Mol Vis. 24: 22:61-72.
2. Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). 2012. Health Effects of Artificial Light (http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/emerging/docs/scenihr_o_035.pdf).
3. Renzi et al.,2014. Relationships between macular pigment optical density and cognitive function in unimpaired and mildly cognitively impaired older adults. Neurobiol Aging., 35(7):1695.
4. Kelly D, Coen RF, Akuffo KO, Beatty S, Dennison J, Moran R, Stack J, Howard AN, Mulcahy R, Nolan J (2015) Cognitive function and its relationship with macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations of its constituent carotenoids. J Alzheimers Dis 48:261–277.
5. Hammond BR et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on photostress recovery, glare disability, and chromatic contrast. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Dec 2;55(12):8583-9.
6. Stringham JM, and BR Hammond. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optometry and Vision Science 85: 82-88, 2008.
7. Ciulla, Opthalmology (2001) 108: 730-737.
8. Hammond, Recent Research Dev Nutr (2002). MPOD measured in density units.
9. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28, released September 2015, slightly revised May 2016) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/
10. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group (2013) JAMA 309: 2005-2015, Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group (2013) JAMA Ophthalmol 131: 843-850
11. Johnson E et al (2010) J Am Diet Assoc 110: 1357-1362.