The effect of ocular nutritional supplements on macular pigment optical density

  • Gilbert Vasey

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisOphthalmic Doctorate


This thesis describes the investigation of the effects of ocular supplements with different levels of nutrients on the macular pigment optical density (MPOD) in participants with healthy eyes.


A review of the literature highlighted that ocular supplements are produced in various combinations of nutrients and concentrations. The ideal concentrations of nutrients such as lutein (L) have not been established. It was unclear whether different stages of eye disease require different concentrations of key nutrients, leading to the design of this study.

The primary aim was to determine the effects of ocular supplements with different concentrations of nutrients on the MPOD of healthy participants. The secondary aim was to determine L and zeaxanthin (Z) intake at the start and end of the study through completion of food diaries.

The primary study was split into two experiments. Experiment 1 was an exploratory study to determine sample size and experiment 2 the main study.

Statistical power was calculated and a sample size of 38 was specified. Block stratification for age, gender and smoking habit was applied and from 101 volunteers 42 completed the study, 31 with both sets of food diaries.

Four confounders were accounted for in the design of the study; gender, smoking habit, age and diet. Further factors that could affect comparability of results between studies were identified during the study and were not monitored; ethnicity, gastro-intestinal health, alcohol intake, body mass index and genetics. Comparisons were made between the sample population and the Sheffield general population according to recent demographic results in the public domain.

Food diaries were analysed and shown to have no statistical difference when comparing baseline to final results. The average L and Z intake for the 31 participants who returned both sets of food diaries was initially 1.96mg and 1.51mg for the final food diaries.

The effect of the two ocular supplements with different levels of xanthophyll (6mg lutein/zeaxanthin and 10mg lutein only) on MPOD was not significantly different over a four-month period.
Date of Award22 May 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorFrank Eperjesi (Supervisor)


  • lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • MPOD
  • food diaries
  • healthy eyes

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