The effect of nutritional supplementation on the multifocal electroretinogram in healthy eyes

Emma J. Berrow, Hannah E Bartlett, Frank Eperjesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have demonstrated an increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) with lutein (L)-based supplementation in healthy eyes. However, not all studies have assessed whether this increase in MPOD is associated with changes to other measures of retinal function such as the multifocal ERG (mfERG). Some studies also fail to report dietary levels of L and zeaxanthin (Z). Because of the associations between increased levels of L and Z, and reduced risk of AMD, this study was designed to assess the effects of L-based supplementation on mfERG amplitudes and latencies in healthy eyes.

METHODS: Multifocal ERG amplitudes, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, MPOD and dietary levels of L and Z were assessed in this longitudinal, randomized clinical trial. Fifty-two healthy eyes from 52 participants were randomly allocated to receive a L-based supplement (treated group), or no supplement (non-treated group).

RESULTS: There were 25 subjects aged 18-77 (mean age ± SD; 48 ± 17) in the treated group and 27 subjects aged 21-69 (mean age ± SD; 43 ± 16) in the non-treated group. All participants attended for three visits: visit one at baseline, visit two at 20 weeks and visit three at 40 weeks. A statistically significant increase in MPOD (F = 17.0, p ≤ 0.001) and shortening of mfERG ring 2 P1 latency (F = 3.69, p = 0.04) was seen in the treated group.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the results were not clinically significant, the reported trend for improvement in MPOD and mfERG outcomes warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalDocumenta Ophthalmologica
Issue number2
Early online date17 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • lutein
  • macular pigment optical density
  • multifocal electroretinogram
  • randomized trial


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