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Our Optometrist in College Station Discusses Macular Pigment Optical Density Testing

Did you know that your eyes have built-in “sunglasses?”

A small spot of yellow pigment, known as the macular pigment, protects your eyes from damaging sunrays. This spot is located in the macula, or center, of your retina at the back of your eye. The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue located near your optical nerve. Light coming into your eye focuses on your retina, which converts the light into signals that your brain interprets as images. Your macula is responsible for central vision that allows you to see fine details clearly. Macular pigment protects this special spot on your eye.

Sometimes known as the macula lutea, which means “yellow spot” in Latin, macular pigment actually contains two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments are carotenoids, naturally occurring yellow to red pigments found in vegetables and other plants. The pigments effectively prevent blue light from entering the underlying structures of the retina.

Blue light, which is part of the visible light spectrum from the sun, reaches deep into the eye to cause damage to the retina. Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss. Let our optometrists at Crystal Vision Center help you see clearer today! 

woman gettting a macular pigment optical density test in College Station

What is Macular Pigment?

Macular pigment protects your macula from harmful blue light and helps to maintain the function of your macula. It also helps with other eye functions, including:

  • Visual acuity – ability to see clearly

  • Contrast sensitivity – ability to distinguish objects from their background

  • Light sensitivity – visual discomfort when exposed to sunlight or other bright light

  • Glare recovery – recovery from temporary “blindness” when going from bright light to dark

The density, or thickness, of the macular pigment varies from person to person. Your macular pigment optical density (MPOD) can also change over time, depending on age, lifestyle, dietary choices and other factors. It is better to have thicker, denser MPOD – having denser pigment offers more protection from harmful blue light and it also helps your eyes function better.

Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) Testing in College Station

Our College Station eye doctor can perform a special eye exam, known as macular pigment optical density (MPOD) testing to determine the thickness of your macula. Low scores indicate an inadequate and unhealthy amount of macular pigment while high scores mean you have enough pigment to protect your eyes.

If you have a low MPOD test score, you may benefit from nutraceuticals to increase the amount of pigment in your eyes. These specially formulated supplements boost the level of carotenoids in your body to support healthy macular pigment.

Talk to our optometrist in College Station about macular pigment optical density testing today by giving Crystal Vision Center a call today at 979-764-0669