Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Vision Science

Committee Chair

Diane Yolton


A major disease of the retina is age related macular degeneration, or ARMD. In this disease, the photoreceptor cells die and blindness results. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids highly concentrated in the macular area, are thought to help protect against ARMD. Supplementation has been shown to raise macular pigment levels of lutein. It is proposed that Ocuvite (Bausch & Lomb) supplementation, which is a preparation of lutein plus other antioxidant molecules, will increase the macular pigment density of lutein and zeaxanthin. This study had forty-eight optometry students, twenty-four male and twenty-four female, who were divided into two groups. Group one, the control group, received no intervention. Group two, the experimental group, received one tablet of lutein daily for six months. Heterochromic flicker photometry, a psychophysical technique, was used to measure the macular pigment density level over a seven-month period. The macular pigment density level was assessed at baseline before any intervention, and then approximately every month for six months. Lutein did not significantly increase macular pigment density levels over a six-month period in the experimental group versus the control group.

Included in

Optometry Commons