Pabari - Your Local Birmingham Opticians

Measuring Macular Pigment

Measuring Macular Pigment

A new service from Pabari Opticians

Measuring Macular Pigment

Pabari Opticians have recently invested heavily in the latest scientific advancements available for clinic to identify changes in your eye health. We now have the equipment to accurately measure a protective pigment at the back of your eye called the Macular Pigment (MP).

What Is Macular Pigment?

MP is a yellow pigment at the back of your eye which comes from your diet. It has two key functions;
Firstly, it is a filter of high energy, harmful blue light in the centre of our retina (back of the eye) which we need to filter to protect the eye from light-induced damage. Such damage can contribute to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) as well as being important for the enhancement of visual performance. Secondly, MP is an antioxidant which prevents free-radical damage caused by light and oxygen (the same elements that cause skin to age). This is important because free-radical damage is also strongly believed to contribute to AMD.

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

AMD is an eye condition that affects a particular part of the retina called the macula. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 years of age. This eye disease is particularly frustrating because it results in a loss of central vision. In other words, someone with AMD can see everything except what he/she is looking at and is therefore unable to read, watch TV, recognise faces or drive.

The Macula

The macula is the central part of the retina and is responsible for central, detailed and colour vision.
When light enters your eye, it is focused onto your retina. The retina includes a number of layers but the most important for vision is a layer made up of cells called photoreceptors. Photoreceptors are cells which are sensitive to light.
The macula contains a high concentration of very specialised photoreceptor cells called cone cells. These cone cells function best in bright light levels and allow you to see fine detail for activities such as reading and writing and to recognise colours. When the light enters the macula, it first passes through the MP before reaching these photoreceptors.

How Our New Equipment Will Benefit You

It is this MP we are measuring with the new equipment, in order to determine if levels are sufficient for optimum antioxidant function and blue light filtration. If levels are low, these functions will be limited and the macula will be vulnerable to damage and vision quality will be reduced.

By measuring MP and identifying people with insufficient levels, we can recommend changes to your lifestyle, e.g. diet and/or supplementation with MacuShield. MacuShield is the only supplement available that contains Meso-Zeaxanthin. It is scientifically shown to rapidly increase a person’s MP density. We will then continue to measure the pigment regularly to ensure protection is maintained.

Macular Pigment & AMD: Points Of interest

Lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the three components of the MP, can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables (e.g. spinach, corn, peppers and most leafy greens). Our eye converts the Lutein into a third and important, MP component called Meso-Zeaxanthin.


Meso-zeaxanthin then accumulates in the very central part of the macula and has a central role in protecting against both blue light and free radical damage. Importantly, 1 in every 8 people are unable to make this conversion and therefore lack Meso-Zeaxanthin. On average we consume as little as 1.3-3mg/day of lutein and zeaxanthin from our diets, considerably less than the amount needed to protect against free radical and light damage, certainly as we get older.

AMD: Risk Factors

Age: AMD typically develops in people over the age of 65. Early signs of disease can develop without visual consequences in people who are in their forties and fifties.

Genetics: AMD has strong genetic links and is a hereditary condition through your immediate family.

Smoking: Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing AMD by 7-10 times. Studies also show that stopping smoking can reduce your risk of developing AMD

Sunlight: Studies suggest that exposure to high levels of throughout your life may reduce your MP and increase your risk of developing AMD.

Diet: Poor diet is a risk factor for AMD. The protective MP at the back of your eye comes purely from your diet, so a poor diet leads to a lack of protection.

At Pabari Opticians we are pro-actively helping to minimise your risk of AMD through this new equipment, by measuring your MP and working towards giving your eye the best possible targeted protection it needs.

If you notice a sudden or slight change in your vision, you should always have your eyes examined as soon as possible by an eye health professional here at Pabari Opticians. We are trained to detect any eye problems and, if necessary, can refer you for an appointment with the ophthalmologist at the hospital.

Macushield FAQ’S – What Is Macushield?

MacuShield is a food supplement designed to fortify the MP. The ingredients that form Macushield are derived from marigold flower. They are Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin.

What Happens If You Take Macushield?

Research has shown that if you take MacuShield, you will significantly increase your MP levels, especially at the centre of your retina where it is believed to be most important.

Who Should Take Macushield™?

Individuals who are at risk of developing AMD and have low MP levels. Research has shown that such individuals include older people (60 years+), people with a family history of AMD, people who smoke cigarettes, people with a poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, people who are obese. It is important to note that you can have low MP levels from an early age (e.g. 20 years upwards).

Why Is Meso-Zeaxanthin Important?

The importance of meso-zeaxanthin for visual health is reflected in the fact that it is only found in high concentrations the centre of the retina, where vision is sharpest.

Meso-zeaxanthin complements the antioxidant capacity of lutein and zeaxanthin. It also allows the MP to filter of a wider range of damaging blue light. It is therefore pivotal to the protective function of MP.

Meso-zeaxanthin is not present in the diet and 12% of individuals cannot generate it at the retina. All three macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) are required to exert maximum antioxidant effect at the macula.

How Long Does It Take To Rebuild Your Macular Pigment Levels After Taking Macushield™?

This differs between individuals, but it generally takes up to three months to rebuild the MP. It is important to note that MP levels will remain increased for up to six weeks after supplementation, but will fall back down after this time once supplementation is stopped. Therefore it is important to routinely have your MP levels checked.

Is Macushield Safe To Take?

Macushield is the only supplement on the market which has undergone rigorous safety trials. It will not affect any medications. We are happy to recommend it because the manufacturers have gone through such stringent checks and have published all the results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

What Our Patients Say

“I’ve been going to the team at Pabaris for more than 10 years and really wouldn’t go anywhere else again. Nothing is too much trouble and the range of glasses is fantastic” – Mrs L Cooper

“Pabaris is a very welcoming opticians. They always go the extra mile in making sure you understand any technical jargon. To top this off, they stock a fantastic selection of great looking brands, meaning you feel confident both going in, and coming out of Pabari Opticians" – Mr B Hodges

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