Purpose: The hypothesis that oral supplementation of the epilutein/lutein combination could augment the macular pigment optical density (MPOD) in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was tested. Methods: In a prospective randomized interventional study, 40 consecutive patients with early-stage AMD were recruited. After a 2-week run-in period, patients were randomly treated with a daily oral administration of 8 mg epilutein and 2 mg lutein (group 1) or 10 mg lutein (group 2) for 2 months. At baseline (BL) and 1-month (M1) and 2-month visits (M2), all patients underwent a complete ophthalmological examination, including measurement of MPOD in a 7° area (Visucam 200; Carl Zeiss Meditec, Milan, Italy). Xanthophylls were quantified in plasma, as well as the HDL, non-HDL, and erythrocyte fractions at each study visit. Results: Twenty-one patients (mean age 69.4 ± 6.7 years, 35 eyes) were included in group 1. Mean MPOD was 0.203 ± 0.02 optical density units (ODU) at BL, and increased to 0.214 ± 0.04 ODU at M1 (p = 0.008) and 0.206 ± 0.03 ODU at M2 (p = 0.04). Sixteen patients (mean age 72.0 ± 6.3 years, 29 eyes) were included in group 2. Mean MPOD was 0.215 ± 0.03 at BL, which reduced to 0.202 ± 0.03 ODU at M1 (p = 0.003) and 0.207 ± 0.02 ODU at M2 (p < 0.001). A rise in the systemic level of total xanthophylls was observed at M1 for both groups. At M2, total xanthophylls were significantly increased only in group 1 and decreased in group 2. Conclusion: In patients with early-stage AMD, the administration of lutein in combination with epilutein was associated with an increased MPOD compared to the administration of lutein alone.

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