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Macular Pigment and Visual Function in Patients With Glaucoma: The San Diego Macular Pigment Study



Although recent studies have shown that macular pigment (MP) is significantly lower in glaucoma patients, this relationship merits further investigation.


This cross-sectional study included 85 glaucoma patients and 22 controls. All subjects had standard automated perimetry (SAP) and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measurements. Intake of lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) was estimated using a novel dietary screener. The Heidelberg Spectralis dual-wavelength autofluorescence (AF) technology was employed to study the relationship between MP and glaucoma. The association between MP volume and glaucoma was investigated using linear regression models accounting for potential confounding factors.


Glaucoma patients had significantly worse SAP mean deviation (MD) and lower RNFL thickness in the study eye compared to control subjects (P < 0.001 for both). MP (volume) was comparable between groups (P = 0.436). In the univariable model, diagnosis of glaucoma was not associated with MP volume (R2 = 1.22%; P = 0.257). Dietary intake of L and Z was positively and significantly related to MP in the univariable (P = 0.022) and multivariable (P = 0.020) models.


These results challenge previous studies that reported that glaucoma is associated with low MP. Dietary habits were found to be the main predictor of MP in this sample. Further research is merited to better understand the relationship between glaucoma, MP, and visual performance in these patients.

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