Macular pigment (MP), which is composed of lutein/zeaxanthin/mezo-zeaxanthin, is concentrated in the central part of the retina, the macula. It protects the macula by absorbing short-wavelength light and suppressing oxidative stress. To evaluate whether MP levels are related to retinal neural protection and resulting health, we analyzed the association between the MP optical density (MPOD), and the macular thickness and volumes. Forty-three eyes of 43 healthy adult volunteers (21 men and 22 women; age: 22–48 (average 31.4 ± 1.1) years) were analyzed. Highly myopic eyes (<-6 diopters) were excluded. MPOD was measured using MPS2®, and the neural retinal thickness and volume were measured using optical coherence tomography. The mean MPOD was 0.589 ± 0.024, and it positively correlated with the central retinal thickness (P = 0.017, R = 0.360) and retinal volume of the fovea (1-mm diameter around the fovea; P = 0.029, R = 0.332), parafovea (1–3-mm diameter; P = 0.002, R = 0.458), and macula (6-mm diameter; P = 0.003, R = 0.447). In the macular area (diameter: 6 mm), MPOD was correlated with the retinal neural volume of the ganglion cell layer (P = 0.037, R = 0.320), inner plexiform layer (P = 0.029, R = 0.333), and outer nuclear layer (P = 0.020, R = 0.353). Thus, MPOD may help in estimating neural health. Further studies should determine the impact of MP levels on neuroprotection.
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