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Macular pigment and its contribution to visual performance and experience

Macular pigment and its contribution to visual performance and experience

By James Loughmana, Peter A. Davisona, John M. Nolanb, M.C. Akkalib, Stephen Beatty, 13-Feb-2010

There is now a consensus, based on histological, biochemical and spectral absorption data, that the yellow colour observed at the macula lutea is a consequence of the selective accumulation of dietary xanthophylls in the central retina of the living eye. Scientifi c research continues to explore the function(s) of MP in the human retina, with two main hypotheses premised on its putative capacity to (1) protect the retina from (photo)-oxidative damage by means of its optical fi ltration and/or antioxidant properties, the so-called protective hypothesis and (2) infl uence the quality of visual performance by means of selective short wavelength light absorption prior to photoreceptor light capture, thereby attenuating the effects of chromatic aberration and light scatter, the so-called acuity and visibility hypotheses. The current epidemic of age-related macular degeneration has directed researchers to investigate the protective hypothesis of MP, while there has been a conspicuous lack of work designed to investigate the role of MP in visual performance. The aim of this review is to present and critically appraise the current literature germane to the contribution of MP, if any, to visual performance and experience.

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