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The Need for Densitometer Testing

To determine if a patient is at risk for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and for patients with known risk factors for AMD, it is critical to know how much protective pigment they have in their macula.  The Macular Densitometer is an instrument that measures the macular pigment, a yellowish substance in the back of the eye that helps protect the eye from the destructive effects of damaging blue light, and gives a clear understanding of the patient’s risk factor for developing macular degeneration.

Lower levels of macular pigment have been demonstrated in patients with macular degeneration. Studies on primary relatives of macular degeneration patients suggest that these individuals have an increased risk of having lower levels of macular pigment and as a result a higher risk for developing AMD.

Why is measuring macular pigment important?

Generally, patients with low macular pigment need to be on a carotenoid-building supplement called MacuHealth to restore macular pigment to healthy protective levels which mitigate risk for AMD. (Those already diagnosed with AMD can benefit from the slowing or stopping of the progression of AMD if they increase their macular pigment.)  To determine at what point supplementation is needed, a simple and reliable test using the Macular Densitometer gives an immediate Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) score to not only indicate whether the patient has low macular pigment, but when to start supplementing with lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin….MacuHealth.  If you are at risk for AMD, follow ups with your doctor at regular 6-12 month intervals, will demonstrate that the treatment plan is working by an increase in the patients MPOD score (provided the patient has been compliant).  Patients appreciate the added reassurance they get from taking a proactive part in their eye care.

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