A portable instrument for measuring macular pigment with central fixation

John Mellerio, S. Ahmadi-Lari, F. J.G.M. Van Kuijk, D. Pauleikhoff, A. C. Bird, J. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose. To evaluate the reliability and validity of a portable instrument for measuring macular pigment optical density. Methods. The instrument is small, uses light emitting diodes as light sources and the principles of heterochromatic flicker photometry of comparing foveal and extra-foveal minimum flicker matches. It uses central fixation for the extra-foveal matches, which subjects found easier than eccentric fixation. Subjects with healthy eyes used the instrument to measure their pigment density in a number of eye clinics. Results. The mean pigment density in 124 eyes in 124 individuals was 0.41 ± 0.16 (mean ± SD), there was no significant change with age but the density was less in females, those with light irides, smokers, subjects on diets low in precursor carotenoids and in those exposed to several hours of daylight every day or who used sun beds. Conclusions. The portable instrument gave valid and reliable data that confirmed published values for macular pigment. It was convenient to use in the clinic and has potential as a screening tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Prof. Moreland for valuable discussions and use of his anomaloscope, to Tony Sallabanks for constructional expertise and to Duncan Gonnella (Shardon Electronic Services) for development of the electronic aspects of the maculometer. FJGMvK was supported by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness.


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Light exposure
  • Macular pigment
  • Screening
  • Smoking


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