Macular Pigment Optical Density Testing

Why Macular Pigment Optical Density Testing Is Essential For Eye Health

As you age, so will your concern for macular degeneration. And one of the things that you should be concerned about is your Macular Pigment Optical Density, as it is a leading risk factor in the development of macular degeneration.

In the modern age of TV, computer, and cell phone screens, people are putting more stress on their eyes, which is contributing to the development of macular degeneration due to the decrease in Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD).

Thankfully, a comprehensive eye exam by a professional Optometrist in Toronto and North York can help determine whether your Macular Pigment Optical Density is at a healthy level.

Here’s what you need to know about macular degeneration and how you can protect yourself against it.

What Is Macular Pigment Optical Density And Why Is It Important?

Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) is a measure of the density of Macular Pigment (MP) in the center of the retina, which protects your eyes from absorbing blue light. This is vital to your eye’s health as blue light is extremely damaging. Therefore, MP acts like sunscreen for the macula, protecting your eyes from damaging rays.

A healthy MP enables clearer vision (20-20 and colour), but an unhealthy MP can cause several things such as:

  • Decreased visual acuity (less clear vision perception)
  • Less pronounced contrast in vision
  • Slower glare recovery after viewing bright lights
  • Light sensitivity
  • Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which leads to gradual and/or complete loss of vision


How Blue Light Affects The Eyes

Although sunlight is the most significant source of blue light (the rays on the bluer end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy than rays on the red end), devices used in our modern lifestyles’ expose us to additional blue light:

Some of those sources include:

  • LED flat screen televisions
  • Computer monitors, phones, and tablet screens
  • Internal lighting including Fluorescent, LED, and Compact Fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs


Mobile devices and monitors are an especially concerning source of blue light due to how close they are to the eyes and due to the long periods of time that people spend looking at them. With children being exposed to these devices and monitors at early ages, low MP is being found in more and more children as they absorb more blue light than adults do.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is a condition that impacts the central vision, leading to loss of vision. It is often associated with age and is mostly found in people over the age of 60. This condition hinders one’s ability to partake in common activities including watching TV, reading, driving, and sometimes even recognizing people’s faces. These side effects will then in turn affect one’s ability to work, stay active, or engage in normal activities.

The two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) include:

  • Dry AMD: this is the most common type of AMD. It makes up 90% of all AMD cases. It is characterized by the presence of small, round yellow deposits found in the retina known as drusen. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size or increase in numbers, distortion of vision may start to be apparent. This type gradually worsens with time and may lead to serious macular tissue atrophy.
  • Wet AMD: this affects the remaining 10% of AMD cases (sometimes, Dry AMD progress into Wet AMD). Wet AMD causes fragile new blood vessels to grow under the retina, causing fluid or blood leakage and vision loss sometimes scarring.


Some AMD risk factors may include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history and possibly genetics
  • Ethnicity
  • Exposure to oxidative stress
  • Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels
  • A diet including high levels of saturated fat
  • Gender (females are more prone to AMD)


How Your Optometrist Tests & Cares For Macular Pigment Optical Density?

Though there is no known cure for macular degeneration, early diagnosis is key to a good prognosis. A professional optometrist in Toronto and North York can help you create a treatment plan that can delay or lessen chances of AMD’s progression. Visiting your optometrist can help you get on a proactive treatment you may need to preserve your eyesight. Keep your eyes in the best shape possible by visiting our professional Optometrists in Toronto and North York. Call us today to book an appointment: (416 656 2020)- Toronto, (416 661 5555), North York.

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