Local study finds abnormal macular pigment levels may lead to higher risk of blindness

The findings of the study by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital were announced on Saturday, at the launch of AMD Awareness Week 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The findings of the study by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital were announced on Saturday, at the launch of AMD Awareness Week 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Abnormally low levels of macular pigment, which is believed to protect the eye's retina from damage, could be associated with a higher risk of blindness.

The macula is the part of the eye responsible for central vision. A local study of 95 Singaporean Chinese has found that abnormal levels of the pigment were found in older and overweight people, who are known to have a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness for older people here. The findings of the study by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital were announced on Saturday, at the launch of AMD Awareness Week 2014.

The results suggest that macular pigment screening, which is done overseas but not here, could complement existing eye checks to better ascertain the risks of getting it, said the hospital. The research team is doing similar studies on Malays and Indians as well, to better understand the importance of such screening for these ethnic groups here. As part of AMD Awareness Week, restructured hospitals and optical shops will also be offering eye screening to those aged 50 and above for a nominal fee of $10, from Oct 11 to 19.

Pre-registration is required. Visit www.ktph.com.sg for more details.

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg